Why Ethiopia won't have internet access for one week

Internet services to embassies and banks will however remain intact.


Ethiopians will have to bear without internet at least for the next one week.

This is after Ethiopia cut off internet access nationwide until at least June 8 to try stop cheats from posting high school exam papers on social media.

Students will be taking their tests throughout the country with Grade 10 exams taking place from May 31 until June 2 and Grade 12 tests from June 5 until June 8.

The move comes just a year after there was a widespread leakage of exam papers online prompting the government to reschedule the tests, which are the main public exams for 16 and 18 year olds to secure places at the university.

"The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year," said Mohammed Seid, public relations director of Ethiopia's Office for Government Communications Affairs.

"We are being proactive. We want our students to concentrate and be free of the psychological pressure and distractions that this brings."

He added that only access to social media outlets was cut off and that services such as airline bookings and banking requiring internet access remained intact.

This is not the first time that the country has announced an internet blackout. At the height of protests in late 2015 and 2016, Ethiopia imposed a blanket ban for weeks before disrupting only social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

It is not yet clear on when the internet shutdown will be lifted but Mohammed reckons that it will last for the entire exam period.


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