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)
CAIRO, Jun 28 (Aswat Masriya) – Egyptian security forces released on Tuesday 23 high school students one day after hundreds protested in front of the Ministry of Education's headquarters in Cairo, a security source said.
The protest was triggered by a ministerial decision to postpone the final exams of a number of subjects, after successive exam leaks sparked anger towards the ministry among students and parents.
During the protest, students demanded the removal of the education minister, chanting "We will not leave, he will leave" and "the students are not thugs."
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.
The arrested students were taken to the Abdin and Qasr al-Nil police stations and were released early Tuesday after "guidance and advice sessions" were conducted, the source from the Cairo Security Directorate added.
The students were advised not to head to Tahrir Square or block any roads.
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."
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. A number of students were also arrested for running Facebook pages that leak exam questions and answers, according to the interior ministry.
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 Thanaweya Amma exams are held in the final year of Egypt's secondary education stage before students are set to enroll in university.