Culprit of high school exam cheat Facebook page arrested

Security services have identified and arrested the administrator of the notorious Facebook page that leaked high school exam papers along with their answers online this week, said the Interior Ministry.

The move follows an Interior Ministry-driven effort to find the culprit behind the webpage and put an end to the leakages of official exams that wreaked havoc during the first week of this exam season.

On Thursday, the ministry published a statement online saying that a public security sector crackdown on all forms of cheating was underway, with specific focus on finding and bringing to justice the person operating the webpage on social network, Facebook, which has been at the forefront of the leakage scandal.

The page, called “Shawming Byghashish Thanaweya Amma" or "Shawming's cheats for high school exams" in English, has been leaking exams online since 2013, and over the course of this week has published online the official Arabic, English and religion exam papers. The correct answers to questions were supplied along with the question papers in each case. The leakage prompted the cancellation of an exam and protests from students and parents outside the Education Ministry. 

Information gathered in coordination with the Cyber Crime Combat department indicated that the administrator of the Facebook page was an Alexandria-based high school student called Mohannad Osama Ahmed Moussa.

Charges were leveled against the suspect, who admitted to running three Facebook pages with the same name and to leaking the English language exam by photographing the questions on his mobile phone while sitting the exam. His laptop and tablet were seized. It was found that they contained the information of more than 30 pages for cheating online and hackers.

The arrest of Moussa coincides with Education Minister al-Hilali al-Sherbini meeting the House of Representatives' Education Committee on Saturday to respond to queries on the recent leakage of high school exams.

In a statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm on Friday, Education Committee member Magda Nasr described the leakage of Thanaweya Amma exams (final high school exams) as a "catastrophe".

She stated, however, that she will not consider the dismissal or resignation of the Education Minister, despite the demand of some MPs for his dismissal over his alleged mismanagement of the crisis.
"The problem is not the [minister] but the education system itself, which is rotten to the core with corruption and must be purged by the revision of the examination process and the whole education system," she said.
The dismissal of the current minister could possibly cause his successor to be indecisive and hesitant, she opined.
"If we do come to suspect negligence on the part of the Minister of Education though, we will not hesitate to withdraw our support for him," she added.
According to Nasr, the House of Representatives has tasked a number of committees with following up investigations into the exam paper leakage, including committees for education, defense and national security, and communications and information technology.
There are proposals to use internet blocking devices in schools during exams to counter cheating attempts, Nasr said, calling for the punishment to be made more severe for students and teachers who implicate cheating.
Nasr criticized the fact that the Education Ministry budget is not laid out by the Constitution, and she condemned a general shortage in educational resources and an underdeveloped curriculum.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm


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