On Wednesday, Algeria took an extreme step to curb cheating. The entire nation received an internet blackout at the start of national exams. The move is meant to avoid students from cheating during the examination period. For a total of two hours, internet connections were cut across the country to coincide with the start of two national exams. Furthermore, all devices with internet access including tablets and mobile phones were banned from the country’s more than two thousand examination centers. Metal detectors have been placed at the schools’ entry points to detect any hidden devices by students.
For more security and transparency, surveillance cameras were installed in all exam printing stations. To prevent students from cheating with help from devices or well-wishers, mobile jammers were put in place as well. These actions come as a direct order from the government to all telecom companies in Algeria.
Moving forward, the government plans to continue with the internet blackouts until the examination period ends for the 700,000 students. The telecom companies are required to confirm after the widespread cheating in 2016 when test questions were published on social media before or at the beginning of a test. Although the government acted to have the internet shutdown, it previously did not work.