This week the Algerian government turned off the internet.
Yes, apparently a government can strip its 42 million people of an internet connection.
The problem is high school students have been using the internet to cheat on their annual baccalaureate exams, so for an hour each day through Monday the internet for the entire country will be shut off. This seems like a complex problem, and perhaps I’d do the same thing if I were in an Algerian government official.
But I know this: People who don’t want to do something will find ways to do less of it. Give a student a test she doesn’t want to take and she’ll try to cheat (or she’ll use willpower resisting the temptation).
People who want to do something will find ways to do more of it. Students who want to learn will learn, with or without exams, and the internet happens to be the greatest learning tool ever invented.
This statement is controversial, but here goes:
If you’re administering a test that a student can cheat on using the internet, make a different test.