Few weeks before the start of the Lebanese national exit exams, mostly known as “Official Exams”, Minister of Education Akram Chehayeb has been touring schools and licensed exam centers to inspect the ongoing installation of surveillance cameras.
For those who are strangers to our educational system, you would want to know that these national exit exams are crucial and mandatory in the Lebanese Curriculum. They are meant to ascertain the level of competence of the students at the end of middle school (Brevet) and at the end of secondary education (Baccalaureate).
Organized by the Ministry of Education in allocated centers nationwide, these exams determine whether the students are allowed, or not, to transition to subsequent cycles. This year, the Ministry decided to install surveillance cameras in an effort to cut off the many incidents observed over the years.
The installed cameras, which costs amounted to about $800,000, are able to record each examination room, both in video and sound, allowing the Ministry officials to supervise students and staff during the exams.
In this context, 291 licensed centers from all around Lebanon have been already equipped with these cameras.
Minister Chehayeb said that the installation of cameras doesn’t indicate a lack of trust in teachers, stressing on that he has all confidence in them, in proctors, and in the ministry. He explained that people have come to realize that interference from some families or politicians or security officials can affect the examination atmosphere.
He also pointed out that the cameras are not designed to intimidate students but meant for their comfort. He assured that the atmosphere of the examinations will be very comfortable, and added that school cameras exist in many other countries, and not just in examination rooms.
“Cameras are a control tool that exists in […] civilized countries in the classroom throughout the academic year, not just at the time of exams. We are not making a mistake but taking a step to put the student at ease and give him his rights,” he said.
A few months ago, Minister Chehayeb had ordered to install cameras in licensed exam centers, stating that the student who studies succeeds, and he who cheats won’t. In his words back then, “We want a respectable diploma.”