The self-declared independent state of Somaliland is implementing its planned two-hour social media shutdown from Monday to Thursday this week in an effort to curb high school exam paper leaks.
The government made the announcement ahead of the autonomous Somali state’s high school exams saying the shut down will prevent exam irregularities, the spread of fake papers and false rumours, local media halbeeg.com reported on Tuesday.
“It’s a temporary measure which will run for hours when the students are sitting for the exam papers. Social media has proven to be a threat to the examinations,” says the Somaliland Minister for Telecommunication and Technology, Abdiweli Sheikh Ibrahim, who added that the blocked sites included Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, IMO, and Viber.
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Somaliland to shut down social media for two hours each each day – from Monday to Thursday this week – in an effort to prevent exam papers and answers being shared between high school students.
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) July 3, 2018
This is the second time in eight months that internet has been shut down in the country which has a population of 4 million.
During their presidential election held November last year, social networking sites were shut down for days starting from the election day to the day the results were announced.
Uganda, Congo, Chad, Gabon, Niger, and Gambia had earlier blocked internet connection during their elections last year. The blockade did not reduce controversies during those elections.
Last month, Algeria also shut down its mobile and fixed internet connections for days as high school students began their exams. The whole country went offline for several hours each day to prevent cheating.
A similar move was carried out by Ethiopia in 2017 during its mandatory national high school exams.
Below are some reactions to Somaliland’s decision to cut off social media.
If they worried leak or anyone gets an unfair advantage, the testing center staff should be required to collect and hold cell phones and other prohibited electronic devices during the test. Shutting down Social media will not do. PPL will take pictures and post later.
— Abdul Abdi (@RealAbdulAbdi) July 3, 2018
Through my personal experience with national exams, #SL needs to secure & protect exam papers at the source, at the Ministry & throughout distribution process by using trustable exam invigilators, relocatibg each exam supervisor to new area & making exam papers available at end.
— Ali H. Warsame (@alihwarsame) July 3, 2018
if they have the exam papers, they can share it via text messages or e-mails so it is not important to shut down social media
— Hamud Mohamed (@Diplomathamud12) July 3, 2018
That’s good idea
— Barkhad M. Cusmaan (@cusmaan_m) July 3, 2018
See that is backwards thinking
— idris ali (@idrissharifali) July 3, 2018