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High school cheating scandal extends through Jordan, Sudan, Egypt

A group of Jordanian high school students were caught cheating during exams in Sudan, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Amman and Khartoum that pulled Egypt into the mess as well.

A group of Jordanian high schoolers couldn’t have anticipated that their plan to cheat on a biology exam would snowball into a diplomatic crisis dragging in ministers, ambassadors and intelligence agents from across the Middle East. Yet that’s exactly what happened this spring in an incident that has renewed demands for education reforms.

A scandal involving Jordan, Sudan and Egypt erupted in March after 23 students traveled from Aye, a village in southern Jordan, to Khartoum, Sudan, to take their final high school exams. In Jordan, the exams are known as the Tawjihi. Students who pass can go on to university studies, while the stigma of failing is so severe it drives some to suicide. This year, hundreds of Jordanian students took the Sudanese equivalent instead, hoping to get higher scores on a less challenging test.

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