Earlier this week, lawmakers in Morocco tabled a bill before Parliament seeking to impose a prison sentence for anyone who disturbs an academic exam.
Pursuant to Article 2-307 of the new proposed law, anyone who attempts to prevent an academic examination process by any means is liable to a prison sentence of 1 to 3 months and fines from Moroccan Dirham (MAD) 2,000 (approx. US$ 205) to MAD 5,000 (approx. US$ 514).
The proposed law has drawn mixed views both within and outside parliament with some terming the proposal as "repressive". They argue that the omnibus prison sentences should be omitted from the proposed law. Deputy of the Party for Justice and Development, Amina Maelainine, is one of the lawmakers who think that prison sentences would only be appropriate in instances where those who disturb an academic exam use violence or unreasonable force, particularly using firearms, which is already a crime punishable by imprisonment.
Maelainine stated that:
Our suggestion is to move away from the restriction of liberty and to instead move towards disciplinary procedures outside the criminal code".
It is no secret that Morocco values the integrity of its education system a factor which has motivated it to enact stringent laws against cheating in high school exams.
In September 2016, the government passed a law imposing disciplinary sanctions (such as an immediate fail and prevention from re-taking the exam for up to two years) on students caught cheating during exams, or for falsifying or usurping identity to take an exam. The law also imposed criminal sanctions meaning that those caught usurping identities in an exam and leaking exam papers are liable to prison sentences from 6 months to 5 years, and fines from MAD 5 000 (US$ 514) to MAD 100 000 (US$10,300).
Despite criticism from various quarters, it is highly likely that Parliament will pass the law.
Header Image Credit: Elets