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Egypt 'killing graduates' by holding in-person exams, say students

Social distancing measures for high school exams collapsed on the first day [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 June, 2020

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The education ministry's decision - made during an online meeting - to hold physical exams in crowded halls has sparked fury among Egypt's students
Egypt's final-year university students have taken to social media to express their outrage over the education ministry's decision to hold exams in-person, despite the country's health crisis caused by coronavirus.

Students posted to Twitter a screenshot purported to be of a ministry meeting over online video platform Zoom.

"They hold their meetings online and decide to put our lives in danger by doing a traditional final exams, shame on you," tweeted one student.

"We want to graduate not die," tweeted another, accompanied by a comic illustration of virus particles eating students as they enter the exam hall.

The discussion prompted the hashtag #Egypt_kills_graduates to trend on Twitter.

Egypt's supreme council of universities decided in April that all written and oral exams scheduled for the summer semester would be suspended, apart from final-year exams which were postponed until the period of study suspension was lifted.

Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar announced in May that final-year exams would begin on 1 July.

Abdel-Ghaffar said that each university was responsible to set their own schedules and enforce precautionary measures to ensure the safety of students and staff.

However high school exams, which began on Sunday following a three-week postponement, were also meant to have enforced social distancing measures, however, these fell apart on the first day.

Pictures circulated on social media of huge crowds of people waiting outside the examination halls, without and sterilisation procedures at the entrances.

Egypt has looseneed its coronavirus restrictions since May in order to revive its ailing economy. However infection numbers as well as the death rate has continued to peak.

Doctors have publicly spoken out about the woefully inadequate response to the Covid-19 crisis, saying they have been forced to treat coronavirus patients without protective gear, and been denied treatment as the isolation hospitals are full.

Those who have called for strikes have been targeted by death threats from pro-regime social media accounts.

According to the government's official figures, there have been 2,365 deaths from the virus, from a total of 58,141 cases. However, many have cast doubt on these numbers, suggesting that the real toll is far higher.

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