Offline: When Exams Disrupt Everyone’s Internet

Every year, throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, millions of people are cut off from the Internet for lengthy periods while students take their school exams.

Often used as a method to stop questions being leaked prior to exams as well as to prevent cheating during exams, these Internet shutdowns harm societies, economies, and the global Internet infrastructure – and they often don’t deter the most determined cheaters. 

Thank you for joining us for ‘Offline: When Exams Disrupt Everyone’s Internet’.

The panel of experts discussed: 

  • The various methods used by governments to shutdown the Internet.
  • The harm that even short Internet disruptions do to the global economy and people’s livelihoods, their rights and ability to access to information. 
  • The effect of Internet shutdowns on the global Internet infrastructure. 
  • Alternative methods for preventing cheating.  
  • Sarah Cupler, Lead Researcher, SMEX
  • Hanna Kreitem, Senior Advisor, Internet Technology and Development, MENA, Internet Society 
  • Khattab Hamad, Media Researcher, Beam Reports
  • Ahmad Aljanazrah, Assistant VP For Academic Affairs, Birzeit University, Palestine

(all times are in UTC)

9:00 – 9:05Welcome and introduction 
9:05 – 9:15Data on exam-related Internet shutdowns in the MENA region (2021)
9:15 – 9:35 Discussion on the impacts of exam-related shutdowns in the MENA region and beyond
9:35 – 9:55 Q&A from the audience 
9:55 – 10:00Final considerations  

The event was open to everyone and was communicated in Arabic and English with simultaneous interpretation between both languages.

Date and Time

09:00 UTC

Wednesday 25 May 2022



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