Tens of thousands of first and second grade students at secondary school complained of technical problems during the first term exams, which started two days ago. Many of the videos showed overcrowding during exams, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Technical problems

The first day of the exams, February 27, witnessed major technical problems that prevented 68,000 students from taking exams, according to the Ministry of Education, which decided to consider all those who attended the exams and encountered technical difficulties, successful, and also decided to split the first and second grades examinations by governorate to relieve the load on the networks. The province where students faced the biggest crisis is Minya, where 12 per cent of secondary grade students were unable to log in the system to perform the exam, because of poor internet connection.

The minister of education pledged in TV statements that this issue would not be repeated, but nevertheless, the students complained of technical problems on the second day of examinations, and the Ministry of Education admitted that 19,000 students could not perform the examinations despite their attendance to the committees.  

Press sites quoted students who attended the second day of the exams and said that it took them an hour to log into the Arabic language exam, and a half hour to log into the mathematics exam, because of technical problems. Despite this, invigilators forced them to complete the exam within the remaining time and did not give them any additional time. Students emphasised that the technical problem was related to the school’s internet connection, so they had to use their personal mobile phone internet to get into the exam in a timely manner.

Precautionary measures absent

Many students and teachers complained about the lack of precautionary measures, the overcrowding and the absence of in-school organisation. A teacher in The Pilot Primary School in Giza said that there was a terrible overcrowding, especially among the people gathered at the school door. There was no social distancing inside the exam rooms and neither students nor invigilators had their temperature taken. Moreover, the school opened its doors to the relatives of students after the examination creating terrible overcrowding.

MP Mohamed Abdullah Zinedine called on the minister of higher education to stop exams in universities to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Zinedine said in an urgent statement, presented to the speaker of the parliament so that it would be directed to the minister of higher education, that all instructions and precautionary measures for stemming coronavirus were violated, pointing to the severe congestion and warning against the persistence of this dangerous situation. The statement came after a video showed students crowded into the metro on their way to Helwan University.

Students at Helwan University said that the university did not apply the necessary precautionary measures, there were no thermometers or anyone to enforce that students wear face masks. The distance between the students in the exam rooms was less than the length of the arm, rather than the stipulated two to three metres.