By Abdellah Ennemli
By Abdellah Ennemli
Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of Education discovered that its Baccalaureate exams had been “leaked” on social networks just a few hours before the exams were to be administered last Wednesday. At the same time, media received a copy of the mathematics exam, which turned out to be the same exam that was posted online. The Ministry of Education has announced its decision to retest all students in the experimental and technological sciences department who took the mathematics exam. 507,413 students of all specializations and branches registered for the baccalaureate exams.
The national press published news on student protests against the exam leak in various Moroccan high schools. Shortly after they left the classrooms, some students executed sit-ins and protests along with their parents, where they displayed banners and chanted slogans such as “What a shame! What a defect! The baccalaureate is in danger.”
The sit-ins saw the tearing up of examination papers and the fainting of some female students, as police cars were deployed in front of the high schools. This serious leak resulted in the intervention of the scientific investigation division (scientific police) to uncover the sources of the leak, especially after it was circulated on social networks and Whatsapp. Facebook pages under the name of “Tasribat” (Leaking) are being extensively investigated. These pages posted photos of baccalaureate exams before the exam date. Thus, questions are raised about the person or persons responsible for leaking the exams.
No one knows the real reason behind the Ministry of Education’s failure to protect the baccalaureate exams. Some students reportedly received the exam questions six hours before the exam. The Ministry has deplored the recent trend of cheating, and strictly controls the entrance of students into the exam rooms. The students’ parents criticized the Ministry of Education which is responsible for failing to safeguard the baccalaureate test, after the leaking of exam questions.
Pedagogical researchers affirmed that as the exams were leaked, “educational and national efforts were ineffective and failed to achieve the ultimate goals. Thus, we moved one step backward instead of forward, because of the unplanned and improvised policies and measures associated with the preparation and implementation of this exam.” The researchers were surprised that the Ministry held teachers responsible for the leak rather than “criminalizing the real responsible [party] for this issue.”
Furthermore, they stressed the five different aspects of the preparation of the exams that were not mentioned before, including those who made the exam questions, who printed them, who wrapped them and those who submitted them to the school directors.
The Moroccan Forum for Students (MFS), which advocates for students’ rights, stated, “We praised the students’ struggle in different parts of Morocco to condemn the baccalaureate exam leaks hours before sitting for it, holding the Ministry of Education responsible for the leak which runs afoul of the principle of equal opportunities for students.” The MFS called for the Minister of Education to open an urgent judicial investigation to to find whoever was responsible for the leak.
The National Association of Students expressed its concern and surprise over the leak, considering it “a natural outcome of the education system’s collapse, which was previously predicted to fail. Mismanagement of the baccalaureate exam processes is a real evidence of this failure.” Further, “the Ministry’s decision to retest the students on the leaked exams is neither a definitive solution nor an adequate compensation for the harmed students.”
Both the Independence Party and the Federal Youth Party called for the removal of Rashid Belmokhtar, the Minister of Education, after the leak of the baccalaureate exams. They considered this “a failure in the management of the educational system.” Further, they put the responsibility on the Moroccan government, as it “failed to manage properly and professionally the planning for the examination.” In a statement, the Independence Party condemned the government. “[The government] implemented imprisonment sanctions on cheaters while it sponsors the greatest cheating operation in the history of the Moroccan baccalaureate.”
The leak of the mathematics exam hours before it was to take place is a serious indicator of the weak moral standards in our society. Thus, the Ministry of Education must investigate, in collaboration with the police, those responsible for this scandal and bring them to justice. Those who leaked the exam do not want the best for our students or our society. Instead, they want to implant collapsed educational values in our students and future. Some parties promote Machiavelli’s quote, “the end justifies the means,” by consecrating inertia in society. The fake results that our students get because of the exam leak will bring to life generations that would follow the same path. Further, fraud and forgery will become a normal and legitimate social behavior as this phenomenon grows, and will produce a weak and dependent generation, who make no effort to succeed, who wait instead for someone to easily and unethically achieve success.
Given the current and serious circumstances that are harmful to Moroccan students, it is of paramount importance to remove and take legal action against the officials in the Ministry of Education who are responsible for the consecutive failures related to exam leaks since 2010. Furthermore, there must be a more secure way to safeguard the examination papers at schools so as not to be leaked or to fall in unsafe hands. The Ministry should find the most appropriate means to fight against this repeated phenomenon.
This article was first published on MWN Arabic and translated into English By Hajar Jannad. Edited by Elisabeth Myers
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