Saturday,25 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1353, (20 - 26 July 2017)
Saturday,25 November, 2017
Issue 1353, (20 - 26 July 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Optimistic results

The minister of education has announced the results of Thanaweya Amma exams, reports Reem Leila

Optimistic results
Optimistic results

The Thanaweya Amma, or secondary school certificate, is considered an extraordinary year for many students as it determines — according to their grades — which university they will join. Minister of Education Tarek Shawki announced the exam’s results at a press conference on 12 July at the ministry. The percentage of students who passed was 72.4 per cent nationwide compared to 75.7 per cent last year.

This year’s exams were taken by 589,388 students. Around 91,000 students sat for the exams in Greater Cairo while 109 took their examinations while in detention.

The final results were published on the Education Ministry’s website on 12 July in the afternoon. On 11 July, Shawki had phoned 56 students who had the highest grades to congratulate them on their scores and the completion of their secondary education. At the press conference he said that in the exams females did better than males.

The highly competitive Thanaweya Amma examinations have been marred in the past years by repeated cheating and leaking of exam papers. This year, Ministry of Education officials introduced a new booklet system to reduce the possibility of errors in the marking process and eliminate the risk of exam leaks. The new system required students to submit their answers on the same sheet as the questions, as opposed to a separate sheet, as was the case in the past.

“The booklet system is considered a change in the structure of the exam, and ultimately stopped the problem of exam leaks and cheating. It helped in curtailing the leaking of exams on social media that has plagued the educational system in the past academic years,” Shawki said at the press conference.

However, many students complained about the new booklet system, apparently because they were not trained enough on it. Some complained that the exam questions were not similar to that of last year while others described them as unsolvable, astonishing and not part of the curriculum.

At the press conference, head of the General Education Sector Reda Hegazi said the disappearance of a full 100 per cent result by any student was a healthy sign. “There were only 1,800 cases of cheating this year. That’s something we should be proud of,” Hegazi said.

The lower passing percentage compared to last year’s, according to Hegazi, was not significant. “Low grades are not an issue. Study whatever you want and win it,” said Hegazi who is also head of the general secondary schools examinations.

In what has become its standard response, the Ministry of Education stated that the exam questions were in accordance with all related standards. A supreme committee formed by the ministry said average students were able to answer 75 per cent of the questions while above average students answered 90 per cent. Only distinguished students were able to answer all the questions correctly.

In 2015 President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree making the leaking of exams a criminal offence, leading to a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of between LE20,000 to LE50,000.

The Thanaweya Amma examinations are the last stage in the Egyptian high school education system. Students who pass the exams are awarded the General Secondary Education Certificate. Students started applying to public universities based on their Thanaweya Amma grades. This phase usually starts a week after the official announcement of the results.

Last year, most Thanaweya Amma tests were leaked on the Chao Ming Facebook pages. The largest page has over 750,000 followers. They leaked questions from many exams, often striking a few minutes after the official exams started, with answers usually posted online shortly thereafter.

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