100% internet blockage to prevent examination malpractice in Ethiopia


Examination malpractice in Ethiopia has been on the increase in the recent years. In June 2016, questions for a top examination were posted on social media causing a national scandal that led to the cancellation of the entire exams. The authorities subsequently blocked social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber in order to stop the further spread the questions.

Recently, Ethiopian authorities have sanctioned a total internet blackout as means of blocking the leakage of papers for the country’s grade 10 examinations. Some Ethiopians feel it is not necessary to obstruct the internet as it very much useful for other sectors in the country.

In addition, this is the second year that such an action has been taken. The government is yet to officially comment on the development but some government officials confirmed that the lack of internet in the country is as a result of the ongoing examination. They said it is a way to prevent examination malpractice in the country.

In addition, it was reported and confirmed that the nationwide outage started on Tuesday. It was further stated that it is the third time in the span of a year that Ethio-Telecom has taken that move. Also, the UK Guardian also reports that Google’s transparency report confirmed that outbound traffic from the East African giant was cut on Tuesday and is yet to be restored. Tuesday was the exact day that the examination commenced.

Internet blackouts in Africa are increasingly becoming popular especially for political reasons. Uganda and Congo Republic blocked access during presidential elections in 2016. The most recent one was a three-month blockage by authorities in Cameroon’s anglophone region. Internet has caused some negative effects on people which some of them are political riots initiated online and examination malpractice.

Speaking with an Ethiopian on the issue, he said:

” the lack of internet for a day now is worrisome. Although I am not comfortable with this but people are now fond of using the internet for negative things which I am sure is not the main purpose for its creation. Our people should learn to look at the positive side of the internet and ignore the other.”

Many Ethiopians are really angry with such act. They wondered how online businesses will be carried out without the internet while some feel it is a great idea to shut down the internet just from the examination period. They believed it will help to protect examination malpractice.

In reaction to this, the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution last year declared the restrictions of internet access as a violation of human rights during its first shut down.

Ethiopians hope that the internet access will be restored soon. They are worried about the slow down of their businesses as a result of the act.

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