Arrests for fraud in leakage of examination papers
As the baccalauréat examinations in Algeria finished at the beginning of June, Justice Minister Tayeb Louh ordered an inquiry by the national gendarmerie into the leaking of exam papers in some wilayas (provinces), said the Algérie Presse Service or APS.
During the inquiry, in 30 wilayas including Algiers, items seized during police raids included computers and compact discs. The gendarmerie carried out ‘tens of arrests’ for fraud by officials, teachers and heads of some exam centres, reported APS.
They included four employees of the printing centre of ONEC, the national examinations office, arrested on suspicion of being implicated in the leaking of baccalauréat subjects, said APS in another article.
According to Radio France International or RFI, about 50 interrogations had taken place, mostly involving officials from the education ministry. Papers had been leaked via social networks, through more than 150 Facebook accounts, which had enabled the police to identify and arrest perpetrators.
Education Minister Nouria Benghebrit announced that papers affected by cheating would be cancelled and students would have to resit them, reported RFI.
Parents, students not happy
While teachers were satisfied with the decision to hold the exams again, parents protested that their children were being penalised and would have to start revising again because of a few cheats, and the period of Ramadan was far from ideal for sitting the exams, reported RFI.
Students in the south of the country criticised the decision taken ‘for the north’; in the Sahara, June temperatures rose to 40° Celsius or more and not all schools were air-conditioned.
Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal denounced it as an “attack on state security” and announced that resits of the baccalauréat would be organised between 19 and 23 June, reported Jeune Afrique.
General secretary of the Education Ministry, Abdelhakim Belabed, said 557,000 candidates would have to retake their exams, reported APS.
The problem concerned 12 papers including maths, economics, natural and life sciences, physics, French, English, history-geography and philosophy.
Meanwhile, 53 people have been arrested in a number of towns in Morocco for their alleged involvement in baccalauréat fraud according to a statement from the national security directorate-general, reported Libération of Casablanca.
The arrests concerned 22 administrators of social network chat pages and sites for facilitating exam paper leaks and answers in return for money, said the police statement; and 31 others for unspecified fraudulent acts involving the exams.
The police investigations involved seizures of computer equipment and electronic devices intended to help cheating, including 19 portable telephones, 17 pairs of earphones, four computers, three central processing units, an electronic tablet and three memory sticks.
A legal inquiry had been set up and investigations were continuing to detect and combat attempts to leak exam contents, reported Libération.
The paper also reported the arrest of a 19-year-old student who had been expelled from an exam session for fraud and being found in possession of unauthorised documents, and who had returned to the school to threaten invigilators with a knife.
* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.