Morocco’s Ministry of Education has denied reports about postponing the 2019-2020 regional baccalaureate exams, set to take place on October 1-3.
The ministry issued a statement on Thursday, September 24, soon after a fake press release went viral on social media.
The fake document bore the logo of the Education Ministry and a counterfeit signature. Citing the COVID-19 situation in the Casablanca-Settat region, it said that regional baccalaureate exams have been postponed to a later date.
The Ministry of Education strongly condemned the document and people who knowingly participated in spreading it. The ministry also urged Moroccans to verify the authenticity of information from official sources before sharing it.
The official statement assured that regional baccalaureate exams will take place across Morocco according to the previously-announced schedule.
Morocco’s regional baccalaureate exams traditionally take place at the end of the second year of high school, in June. This year, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education decided to postpone them until September, before pushing the date further.
On August 31, the ministry announced the exams will take place in October. However, Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi did not rule out the possibility of postponing the tests if students are at risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Students take the tests in secondary subjects, depending on their branch of studies. Regional baccalaureate exams make up 25% of the overall mark of baccalaureate in Morocco.
Students attended preparation sessions throughout September to get ready for the exams. The students who will take the exams are set to begin their 2020-2021 school year two days after the exams, on October 5.
COVID-19 situation in Casablanca-Settat
The false rumors about the postponement of regional baccalaureate exams in the Casablanca-Settat region come on the heels of a steady increase in COVID-19 cases in the region. On Thursday, the region recorded 994 of Morocco’s 2,356 new cases.
Casablanca itself recorded 735 new cases and 12 coronavirus-related deaths. The city is currently under strict lockdown. Initially imposed for a two-week period on September 7, the lockdown measures witnessed a two-week extension on September 18 and are now set to expire on October 5.
Lockdown measures include closing the entrances and exits to and from Casablanca for citizens without exceptional movement permits.
The lockdown also includes a night curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., limited opening hours for markets, cafes, shops, and restaurants, as well as the closing of all schools and universities.
Casablanca students are currently attending online classes, pending the end of the lockdown.