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Egyptian schoolgirl becomes unlikely symbol for fight against corruption

Egyptian schoolgirl Miriam Malak cries on television as she recounts receiving a zero mark in her final exams. TWITTER

Egyptian schoolgirl becomes unlikely symbol for fight against corruption

A teenage girl has unwittingly become a symbol in Egypt's fight against corruption after being marked zero in her final school exams.

Egyptian schoolgirl becomes unlikely symbol for fight against corruption

Mariam Malak, a 19-year-old teacher’s daughter, scored 97 per cent in her previous two years but was shocked to find she had failed in her finals. She says her answers have been replaced as they are not in her handwriting.

Malak had dreams of becoming a doctor like her two brothers but has now been nicknamed the “zero schoolgirl” by local media.

“Since the results came out I’ve been living a nightmare,” Malak told AFP in Cairo after arriving in the capital from her home in southern Egypt.

“When I was shown the so-called copy of my answers, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” she said.

According to The Guardian Malak said she had written page after page in the exams, and what she was shown consisted of a few lines.

She is set to fight against a highly burecreatic and confusing legal system to try and challenge rampant corruption and prove she was wronged.

Her lawyers believe Malak’s exam papers could have been swapped with those submitted by the child of a person of influence.

The Guardian said when Malak received her final result she appealed to the education authority in the southern city of Assiut, which dismissed the complaint. She then appealed to the prosecution service which asked a forensics team to examine her handwriting, and ruled it was indeed hers. The prosecution then closed the case.

So, Malak appealed.

“I know I’m fighting corruption because the way my results were announced and forged means that corruption exists,” she said.

People have taken to social media to support Malak using the hashtag #ibelievemariammalak

Her case finally caught the attention of Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, who invited Malak to Cairo, and then issued a statement supporting her.

Mahlab said he would “support the student in her appeal as if she were his daughter”.

The prosecution service has now reopened the case.




Meanwhile a young girl in the United Kingdom has outperformed Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking in a Mensa-supervised IQ test.

Twelve-year-old Lydia Sebastian took the test in an attempt to enter Mensa, a society which only accepts the top 2 per cent of IQs. She scored 162,  the maximum possible score for a person under 18. Einstein and Hawking were believed to have an IQ of 160.

Only 1 per cent of those who sit the Mensa test achieve the maximum mark.

“At first, I was really nervous but once I started, it was much easier than I expected it to be and then I relaxed,” Lydia told The Guardian.

“I gave it my best shot really.”

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