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  • Tuesday ,12 July 2016

Student press conference canceled as police cordon off Journalists Syndicate


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Tuesday ,12 July 2016

Student press conference canceled as police cordon off Journalists Syndicate

Security forces cordoned off the Journalists Syndicate headquarters building in Cairo on Monday to prevent high school students holding a press conference there, according to syndicate officials.

 The press conference had been called jointly by the Freedoms Committee of the Journalists Syndicate and the School Students Union in response to the recent crisis over leaked school exam papers.
Security forces placed metal barriers across the roads and CSF troops were deployed around the building itself to stop students from entering.
The Freedoms Committee, headed by Khaled al-Balshy, cancelled the conference due to the failure of students to gain access.
High school students have been sitting their final exams — known as thanaweya amma — for the past month, but they have been disrupted by number cases of exam papers being leaked beforehand or shared online once exams had started.
A Facebook page titled “Shawming Byghashish Thanaweya Amma" has been responsible for many of the leaks, publishing papers, often along with model answers. As a result several examinations were cancelled and rescheduled.
The alleged administrator of the Facebook page was arrested, as were several officials involved in the printing and distribution of exam papers. However, the problem of leaks and online circulation of papers continued until the last day of examinations.
In response to the crisis, hundreds of high school students staged protests over the course of last week demanding the dismissal of Education Minister al-Helali al-Sherbeni. They also called for a complete revision of the high school education system, along with the thanaweya amma exams.
Spokesman for the Education Ministry Bashir Hassan said on a TV program last week that calls for the minister's resignation were limited in scope, meaning that he is unlikely to resign over the crisis.
Hassan said that dismissing the minister would not fix the prolem, insisting that the leaks would continue regardless of who heads the ministry unless and until the culprits are brought to justice.
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.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has vowed in a speech on June 30 to solve the problem of leaked high school examination papers, saying that the government is working on a new system for the final period of high school education.