Hundreds of Egyptian high school students gathered outside the Education Ministry on Monday to protest against the cancellation of the dynamics exam and the postponement of the history, geology, algebra and solid geometry exams.
The students demanded the sacking of the education minister, the abolition of the university admissions system, and the holding accountable of those involved in the leakage of high school exams.
The students collected signatures for a petition and raised banners that read "Leave", "A failing system" and "You leaked the exams, now see how many students have their dreams killed!"
They chanted against the minister, calling for his dismissal.
Education Minister al-Helali al-Sherbeni canceled the official high school dynamics exam after confirmation that the paper was leaked online in the early hours of Sunday morning.
High school students all over Egypt sat the exam (one of the papers on the mathematics curriculum) between 9 and 11 a.m. on Sunday. However, the questions and answers were simultaneously leaked online, with many students accessing them via mobile phones.
Following initial hesitation from inside the Education Ministry as to what action to take, the dynamics exam has now been canceled and rescheduled for July 2.
Exams for geology, algebra, solid geometry, and history, which were scheduled for Tuesday, have been postponed until July 4.
Prior to the decision to cancel the exam, an informed ministry source had said that most probably the ministry would wait for a random sample of candidates' results to be checked, following the usual procedure, to determine whether candidates were producing answers identical to the model answers. Based on this, the source predicted, a decision would be made about whether students should resit the exam.
A number of students confirmed that the questions in the official paper were the same as those circulated online.
The Facebook page, “Shawming Byghashish Thanaweya Amma" (Shawming's cheats for high school exams), the culprit behind a succession of leaks over the course of this exam season, announced at 2 a.m. Sunday that it had obtained the dynamics paper.
Despite the apparent arrest of the administrator of the notorious Facebook page earlier this month, the page has been linked to the circulation of several exam papers since.
The page has been leaking exams online since 2013, and over the course of this exam season has published online numerous official papers, including the Arabic, English, religion, geography and mathematics exams. The page specializes in supplying the correct answers to questions along with the question papers. The leakages have prompted the cancellation of exams and protests from students and parents outside the Education Ministry.
High school cheating pages on Facebook, including the Shawming page, published challenges to the Ministry of Education Sunday, after the minister decided to postpone a number of exams.
"We would like to inform you that the cancelation of today's Dynamics exam will not have a real impact on me as well as the postponement of the rest of the exams, which I will also leak. You and your government or your failing system will not stop me. I will not cease rioting, provoking public opinion, or leaking exams unless you start developing the whole education system," the message directed to the education minister Hilali al-Sherbini read.
The dynamics exam was leaked at 12 p.m. through a ministry employee, according to Shawming. The employee allegedly sold the paper of exam at LE1,000 for each Facebook page.
An Education Ministry official denied rumors that this year's high school exams have been postponed to next year.
The dynamics exam was canceled because it was leaked on Sunday, one day before the exam, the source said, adding that the other exams were postponed due to a high possibility of further leaks.
New exams will be developed, printed and transferred under tight security and high confidentiality, making new leaks impossible, he added.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm