Internet access has been finally restored after shutdown for exams in Ethiopia


After almost two weeks of internet shut down in order to prevent examination malpractice, Ethiopian authorities finally decided to restore internet access across the country. The citizens were excited as they could presently gain access to work on the internet the way they used to before the shut down.

The authorities previously confirmed that the blockage was to preserve the integrity of nationwide examinations that were slated between May 31 and June 8. The Grade 10 and 12 exams are for university entrance purposes and also for enrollment into national vocational courses. Thousands of students took the Grade 10 exams between May 31 until June 2 whiles others took the Grade 12 papers between June 5 and June 8.

The examinations ended today, 8th of June and immediately it ended, the internet access was restored.

“We are being proactive. We want our students to concentrate and be free of the psychological pressure and distractions that this brings. The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year,” Mohammed Seid, public relations director of Ethiopia’s Office for Government Communications Affairs, said.

It was reported that there were exceptions to the blackout as diplomatic and international institutions, banks and top hospitality outfits still had access amidst the blackout. It was understood that these sectors are important in the country. Shutting down internet in such areas might cause more harm to the people.

However, apart from shutdowns related to education, the government has also blocked internet in the wake of anti-government protests that hit the country last year. Addis Ababa said social media was to blame for spreading protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions. This act caused a high level of economic instability.

In addition, the government repeatedly said that the social media was being used to instigate the mass action that led to deaths of protesters. Ethiopians filters internet regularly using firewalls which often slows network access.

Many African countries are popular for implementing internet blackouts especially for political reason. It was reported last year that Uganda and Congo Republic blocked internet access during presidential elections. Just fews months ago, there was a three-month blockage by authorities in Cameroon’s anglophone region, also, majorly for political reasons.

Many international human rights organisations have questioned this act of internet blockage, stating that it is a violation of human right. However, most countries have defended themselves by saying that the act is to protect the lives of their citizens.

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