Social networks in Algeria blocked to prevent exam fraud

There was no official comment Sunday from authorities or telecom officials on the internet disruptions and the lack of access to social networks. (AFP)
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Updated 15 September 2020

Social networks in Algeria blocked to prevent exam fraud

  • The baccalaureate exams, which began Sunday, are due to last until Sept. 17

ALGIERS: Algerians were unable to access social media accounts on Sunday as students sat for national exams in the North African country where authorities are cracking down on cheating.
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp were inaccessible, an AFP journalist said, while the internet faced disruptions across the country.
The move came a day after the Justice Ministry announced that a teenager had been sentenced to one year in jail for having shared the results of an Arabic-language test online.
The boy was sentenced Wednesday by a court in the northeastern city of Guelma in line with a penal code amendment adopted in April that criminalized cheating during the brevet and baccalaureate examinations, usually taken at the end of secondary and high school, respectively.
After a spike in cheating during national exams in recent years, authorities in the North African country adopted legislation under which those found guilty of wrongdoing could face up to 15 years in jail.
According to the Justice Ministry, courts in Algeria have begun to hand down jail sentences to individuals accused of having leaked exam papers or results during the brevet earlier this month.
In 2016, authorities temporarily blocked access to social networks to prevent cheating after leaked papers forced hundreds of thousands of students to resit the baccalaureate exam.
Authorities then arrested dozens of people, including the heads of national exam centers and teachers on suspicion of leaking the final exam papers.
There was no official comment Sunday from authorities or telecom officials on the internet disruptions and the lack of access to social networks.
The baccalaureate exams, which began Sunday, are due to last until Sept. 17.


Google Doodle celebrates Egyptian author Notaila Rashed’s 86th birthday

Updated 20 September 2020

Google Doodle celebrates Egyptian author Notaila Rashed’s 86th birthday

  • She is affectionately known as “mama Lobna”
  • She founded a children’s book section at the publishing house Darel-Hilal in Cairo

DUBAI: Google celebrated the life of Egyptian author, Notaila Rashed, on Sunday, marking what would have been her 86th birthday. 
Affectionately known as “mama Lobna,” Notaila Ibrahim Rashed actively worked for the promotion of children’s and young adult’s literature in Egypt until her death in 2012.
Rashed contributed to children’s literature in the Arab world by writing books and short stories for magazines, as well as radio and television shows. She founded a children’s book section at the publishing house Darel-Hilal in Cairo and worked for children’s magazine ‘Samir’ from its first release in 1956 and until 2002. 
Egyptian National Council of Culture’s first children’s film was based on her story ‘The Doll,’ part of a bigger book called the ‘The Diary of Yasser Family.’
She started writing when she was still a student at the Cairo University, and her first works were broadcast on radio in 1953.
Rashed’s writings blend literary traditions of ancient and modern Egypt to help kids from across the world learn more about contemporary life in her home country.
Mama Lobna also translated a number of classics into Arabic, including ‘Black Beauty,’ ‘The Happy Prince’ and ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’
During her lifetime, Rashed received numerous awards, including the State Award for Children’s Literature in 1978, the State Award for Children’s Journalism in 1995 and the Medal of the Council of the Ministry of Culture in 2002.