Security forces disperse Egyptian high school students' protest

Monday 27-06-2016 05:12 PM

Egyptian high school students protested in front of the ministry of education on Monday June 27, 2016 against what they see as an "oppressive" educational system. (ASWAT MASRIYA/ Jihad Abaza)

Photographer Jihad Abaza

CAIRO, Jun 27 (Aswat Masriya) - Egyptian riot police dispersed a protest held on Monday by high school students who demand the removal of the minister of education. 

An eyewitness told Aswat Masriya that the Central Security Forces fired tear gas at the students to disperse their protest in downtown Cairo.

The students dispersed and ran into the side streets off Mohamed Mahmoud street. 

The students began their protest in front of the Ministry of Education's headquarters this morning, demanding that the minister of education leave his position.

The protest was triggered by a ministerial decision to postpone exams, after successive exam leaks.

"We will not leave, he will leave," the students chanted. 

A large number of mothers also attended the protest with their children. One of the students told Aswat Masriya that the exam leaks are the responsibility of the ministry, and that students should not bear the leaks' consequences. 

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said in a press release on Monday that the decision to postpone the exams "was to preserve the principle of equal opportunities for all students, out of the state's concern to handle [the issue with] transparency and honesty."

He added that the government fully understands the impact of the decision on the students and their parents.

The Ministry of Education cancelled on Sunday the dynamics exam for the general secondary certificate (Thanaweya Amma), after the exam's questions were reportedly leaked. The ministry rescheduled the exam for July 2. 

Egypt’s top prosecutor referred on Sunday an investigation into cases of reported leaks to the State Security prosecution, which typically looks into cases that affect national security.

The public prosecution explained the decision to refer the case to this branch of the prosecution in a statement, saying that the repercussions of leaking exams affect the state’s supreme interests.

Since the beginning of the Thanaweya Amma exam season, several cases of exam leaks, mostly via social media networks, have been reported.

Early in June, the Thanaweya Amma religion exam was leaked, prompting the ministry to cancel and postpone the exam to June 29.

Following the incident, the prosecution ordered the detention of a number of Ministry of Education officials over accusations of leaking exam questions.

The interior ministry also said it arrested a number of students for running Facebook pages that leak exam questions and answers. 

The Thanaweya Amma exams are held in the final year of Egypt's secondary education stage before students are set to enroll in university.

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