An in-depth look at the academic dishonesty among the SAT examination centres in Cairo.
It’s no secret that education in Egypt is, well, let’s just say sub-par, and over the years it has established itself as a true fundamental problem that the country has to work on - according to every “specialist,” who has given Egypt pointers on how to improve.
While the majority of the education problems in the country stem from that schools have virtually no funding and end up giving their students a shoddy education, the headlines in the last year have reported on the failures of upper-class schools, which have much more money and offer foreign certificates to Egyptians.
The shady dealings of Egypt’s international schools have been uncovered in the last year in a series of incidents that range from them charging too much money to operating under false licenses to employees who have violated students to generally being all around fuck-ups. And while the majority of you believe that your kids are getting a GREAT education at those "elite" schools, we have learned recently that your kid may not be receiving the kind of education you had envisioned.
Divided mainly between the British system with its IGCSE’s and the American system with its diplomas and the famous SAT’s, Egypt international education system may not be as honest as we thought.
In 2013, the SAT board witnessed mass leaks of their examination papers administered outside the States, mainly in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, Reuters reports. Furthermore, it has come to our attention that there are many cases of university students getting paid handsome sums of money to take the SATs for high school students who are either too dumb or too lazy to take their exams themselves.
“A friend told me we could make easy money by taking the SATs for high school kids. I was down, whatever, it was easy money. They gave us the money up front which was cool, but two of my friends who were doing it took the money and never showed up to the SATS. They thought they got away with it, until they started receiving death threats from people who knew who they were. It was pretty scary, because he got to them even though they gave him fake names and numbers. They had to return the money in the end,” recounts Samir, a graduate who took the SATs for high school students when he was in college, showing the great lengths wealthy kids will go to not take a test.
Come 2017, the SAT board are finally catching up with the academic dishonesty that has underscored their exams in recent years by seriously tightening their security. They have decided to reduce the number of exams administered outside of the US from 6 to 4, as well as implementing a new audit of each examination centre to ensure that moderators are following proper protocols.
University students have been using these SAT gigs for years to make a little extra cash on the side, and while we applaud the thriftiness, in all fairness it’s not entirely cool. And it’s quite the elaborate scheme as well, we have come to know.
Basically university students are hired by corrupt teachers who are paid by parents of spoiled kids that don’t want to do the work to graduate, but also don’t want to stay behind while their friends go off to college. They ease the way for imposters’ at the examination centres by providing false documents and diverting moderators’ attentions from the discrepancies at hand. Those taking the exams for money have to get forged passports or National ID's and in more lenient centres, only fake examination IDs are required. Using the fake ID's, they can enter the halls undetected, which is insanely illegal, and a huge risk for them to take even for the money that they get.
“I was recruited by a teacher from a school in Madinet Nasr named Mr. Essam, who was sketchy as fuck. You started off getting paid 2K maybe, then depending on your score your pay could go up really high, in the end, I was getting paid around 15K,” continues Samir.
Over the last few years there have been arrests of such imposters taking the exams for money, and last year a university student was sentenced to one year in prison for leaking exam papers.
“So I took the SAT 7 times and on my 7th I got arrested. I mean a white haired 23-year-old taking the exam for 15/16 year olds looks fishy. I was taking the exam when a supervisor from the council came into the room and asked to see my exam ID, then told me to show him any club ID or my national ID, of course I had left it in the car, so he told me to come with him, I did and they put me in a room for like 2 hours and I have no idea what the fuck is going on. Then two policemen come and they are high ranking officials mish ay kalam (without talking), they cuffed me and dragged me across the school into a room keda filled with police and other kids who had done the same thing, they told me to rat out the guy who hired me or I would get a 6 year sentence, so I ratted out the guy, they kept screaming at me, threatening me, but then they let me go after several hours,” reveals AUC graduate Mohamed Soliman.
Soliman got off easy, because he hadn’t forged a national ID. Sentences for forging a national or a passport can go up to 6 years. But wait, it gets shadier, for every person Soliman recruited to take the SAT for, he would be paid commission, EGP 500 for bringing guys and EGP 1000 for girls. We are getting such intense drug cartel vibes.
Although we fully support enforcement and prosecution because repairing Egypt’s educational system will fix a long list of root issues, the SAT board failed to change one procedure, that would have solved many more security issues, and that is the issue of rehashing examination papers administered in the US. So kids take the exam in the US and the next year, kids in foreign countries take the same exam, which doesn’t really help the leaking problem and with social media and the internet, it has become increasingly easier for foreign students to get their hands on the exams.
Small steps, though, so kudos, SAT board, we approve!