After leaking exams, Shawming page declares solidarity with student protests

The administrators of a Facebook page that illegally published examination pages for high school exams have declared their solidarity with student protests aimed at forcing changes to the university admissions system and the dismissal of the education minister.
The Facebook page "Shawming Byghashish Thanaweya Amma" (Shawming's Cheats for High School Exams) has published several examination papers in the past week for the thanaweya amma high school examinations, which are being held through June.
The leaks were met with anger by both Education Ministry officials and parents, who said they had undermined the hard work of the students taking the exams, which will determine entry to university and college courses.
However, far from accepting the blame for the disruption to the final high-school exams — and the prospects of students sitting them — the Facebook page administrators have asserted their sympathy with students and parents, joining their calls for education reform.
Shawming said on Facebook that it supports protests planned for Monday demanding the reform of the admission requirements for Egyptian universities, which are based on overall scores in the high school exams.
The group launched the hashtag "The cancellation of university admission system 2016" in support of the protests.
While Shawming was instrumental in the leaks, students organizing the protests have directed their criticism at officials, who they say must be responsible for making the examination papers available to Shawming ahead of time.
Some have set up a Facebook page dubbed "High School Students' Revolution" to unify their demands and announce the locations where protests will take place.
Among the key meeting points for Monday's protests are the Education Ministry building in Cairo, at 9 a.m., the Beiram al-Tunisi Theater in the Shatebi area of Alexandria, and outside the Sharqiya governorate headquarters in Zagazig city.
"We live in a society that is only interested in myths and platitudes and that's far away from science, development and scientific research," read an online statement from one student activist. "So we have all decided to go into the street next Monday, all over the country, to demand the resignation of the minister of education, the abolition of the admission system, and the punishment of everybody responsible for the exam leaks."
The statement did not clarify whether those behind the Shawming Facebook page should be among those punished, suggesting that the intention is to hold officials responsible for the leaks, rather than those who published them online.
Earlier this week, South Cairo prosecutors ordered the detention of 12 Education Ministry officials for 15 days pending investigation into the leak of exam papers on Sunday.
The Shawming Facebook page has been publishing leaked examination papers for almost four years, and so far the administrators have evaded capture, despite the efforts of Education Ministry officials and the police.
Previous comments published by Shawming appear to express concern over the education system in Egypt, and it seems the leaks of examination papers this year may be partly intended to provoke protests that force change.
Final high-school exams — known as thanaweya amma — began last Saturday for the students following the old system, and Sunday for those in the new system. About 563,000 students around the country will sit the final exams of their pre-university education over the next three weeks. The exams coincide this year with the month of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for the Muslim portion of Egypt's population.
The thanaweya amma refers to the final years of high school, which students attend between the ages of 17 and 18, and is a crucial educational stage in Egypt. A student’s score in the examinations can determine whether they are admitted to a free public university and what course they are able to study.
Authorities have worked to maintain consistent examination standards over the past few years, despite the political, economic and social turbulence of post-Mubarak Egypt. During the security void following the January 25 revolution, the armed forces transported exam papers using armored vehicles and helicopters.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

Related Articles

Back to top button