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Anger as Sudan cuts mobile internet during school exams

September 17 - 2020 KHARTOUM
File photo
File photo

Internet users in Sudan have expressed dismay and frustration after the service for mobile phones was cut off yesterday morning without prior notice. Zain and Sudani telecommunications companies in Sudan sent text messages apologising for the sudden interruption of the service.

They said the judicial authorities ordered them to cut the service “during the Sudanese Certificate exams sessions between 08:00 until 11:00”. Wired internet services were still working via in offices, institutions, and homes. The internet service began to gradually return to mobile phones after 11:00.

The postponed secondary school exams in Sudan began on Sunday with 541,000 students registered.

Sudanese expressed their dismay about the sudden cut in social media, calling the measure ineffective. “It could have been replaced by alternative measures to prevent cheating during the Sudanese Certificate exams.”

The Sudanese Transparency Organisation said in a statement on Wednesday that companies, banks, and businesses were also seriously affected by the decision.

“The directives came from the judiciary, which means they sided the Ministry of Education, who is primarily responsible for the exams, and the communications and postal apparatus concerned with monitoring and regulating the telecommunications sector in the country.

“Those two institutions should have issued a joint statement to clarify the facts. Furthermore, it is not clear who is to be held accountable for the failure of employees to perform their tasks properly,” the statement says.

The Sudanese Transparency Organization queried cutting-off the service, its feasibility, and why the Ministry of Education allows students to enter the examination halls with their phones. It asks whether the daily partial service cut off is to prevent students using the Internet during exam sessions, or whether it is to prevent leaking of exam papers.

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