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Outrage in Algeria as 300,000 students forced to redo exams after leak

Algeria's minister of national education broke down in tears as authorities arrest dozens
At least 300,000 students will have to retake baccalaureate exams (AFP)
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More than 300,000 Algerian students will have to retake their final exams next week after questions of seven tests were leaked online, the education minister said on Monday.

Nouria Benghebrit broke down in tears in public last week when she was told of the exam leak - the tests must be passed by high school students before they enrol for higher education.

Dozens including education officials have been arrested in Algeria on suspicion of leaking final exam papers that led to more than 300,000 students needing to retake the tests, police said on Tuesday.

Managers, teachers and even the heads of national exam centres were detained for their alleged role in the scandal.

The investigation is looking into leaks in 30 Algerian departments, or regions, according to the police unit leading the probe.

A police statement carried by the APS news agency said cybercrime investigators had managed to identify individuals who had "published [exam] material on social networks" as well as those who facilitated the leak.

Benghebrit said that 300,000 students out of the 800,000 who sat the "baccalaureate" final exams last week would have to undergo new testing on 19 June.

They would be tested again for the seven exams leaked online, she said.

The leaks sparked outrage in Algeria, with Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal vowing to punish those behind the leak.

Ahmed Ouyahia, who heads the office of the president, described the leaks as a "plot" against Benghebrit who was appointed minister of education in 2014.

A trained sociologist, Benghebrit has angered conservatives in Algeria by proposing to reform the education system in the North African nation.