Ethiopia has shut internet access until at least June 8 to stop cheats from posting high school exam papers on social media, a government official said on Thursday.
The Grade 12 tests will begin from June 5 and end on June 8.
Last year, exam papers were widely posted online, prompting the government to reschedule the tests, which are the main public exams for 16- and 18-year-olds to secure places at university and on vocational courses.
“The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year,” Mohammed Seid, public relations director of Ethiopia’s Office for Government Communications Affairs, told Reuters.
“We are being proactive. We want our students to concentrate and be free of the psychological pressure and distractions that this brings.”
Mohammed did not give a precise date regarding when the shutdown would be lifted, but added it would last throughout the exam period.
He said only access to social media outlets was cut off and that services such as airline bookings and banking requiring internet access remained intact.
A Reuters witness confirmed that WiFi and cellular internet access has been cut off. Access at embassies and international organisations remained intact.