Algeria experienced a complete Internet shutdown on Wednesday, 22 June 2018, for a period of 2 hours. This came as a result of the North Afrikan country's government ordering telecommunications companies to cut-off Internet access to ensure high school exams run smoothly, without cheating.
The 2 hour period which saw the Internet off in Algeria co-incided with the commencement of high school exams in Algeria, and more Internet shutdowns are expected.
According to Ali Kahlane, President of Algeria's Telecommunications Association, AOTA, telecommunications companies were required to conform to government's demands that the Internet be shutdown whenever high school pupils sat down for exams. Furthermore, Algerie Telecom confirmed in a statement that it was required to shut down the Internet in compliance with "instructions from the government, aimed at ensuring the high school diploma tests run smoothly."
The shutdown comes after, in 2016, there were leaks of high school exam papers in Algeria. Following that, in 2017, Algeria's government then decided to issue a notice to telecommunications companies to block social media sites but exam cheating and paper leaks still continued.
Added to the Internet shutdown, Nouria Benghabrit, Algeria's Minister of Education, has indicated that electronic devices with Internet access will also be banned from high school exam centers and metal detectors will be installed at the entrances of the exam centres.
According to reports, in 2018, 709,448 Algerian high school students are sitting for the final high school year exams across 2,000 exam centers in the country.
Algeria is not the first Afrikan country to shut down the Internet to try and prevent exam cheating. In June 2017 Ethiopia's government shut down the Internet in the East Afrikan country in a move to discourage students from cheating and leaking exam papers during the country's national exam week. Shutting down the Internet for all citizens is a severe measure which likely affect the day to day lives and business of citizens who do not write the exams in a negative way.