Thursday,21 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1207, (24 - 30 July 2014)
Thursday,21 February, 2019
Issue 1207, (24 - 30 July 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Annual hassle over

Students who survived this year’s thanaweya amma have started the university application ordeal

thanaweya amma
thanaweya amma

For more than a month the thanaweya amma (secondary school certificate) examinations have been making headlines, reports Reem Leila. Many students still consider educational reform and the thanaweya amma as a lost cause. Every year the government vows to revamp the educational system especially the horrifying thanaweya amma and yet nothing actually happens, on the contrary the situation getting worse every year. The curriculum remains tortuous in its complexity.

Thanaweya amma’s annual hassle may appear weird, but this year’s anxiety was definitely unbelievable. Secondary school exams have become a recurrent nightmare for Egyptian families. More than 450,000 thanaweya amma students this year found their futures dependant on grades attained in the two-year and one-year system of tests, the results of which determine which faculty they can join, and just 0.1 per cent in overall marks can make all the difference between success and failure.

The marathon for joining the university’s top faculties has started on 20 July, where more than 100,247 thanaweya amma first phase graduates have crammed at Egypt’s computer labs to start the university application process via the university enrollment office official website. The application process is divided into three phases based on the students’ grades where the first phase starts with students who gained the highest grades. Science section students who scored a minimum of 96.34 per cent, mathematics section students who scored a minimum of 92.40 per cent, and arts division students ending at 80.49 per cent will be the first to apply.

Ahmed Farahat, head of the education sector at the Ministry of Higher Education stated that out of 100,247 students, 80,000 students have registered their applications for enrolling in a university. First phase lasted between 20-24 July in order to give students the chance to apply for university. “Results of the first phase of enrollment will be announced on 27 July,” said Farahat.  

Both parents and students were furious because of the breakdown of the server, caused by the recurrent power cuts and by the large number of applicants using the website. “No official from the Ministry of Higher Education has so far inspected the coordination laboratories to make sure that the process was moving forward two days after the beginning of the enrollment process,” argued Ihsan Al-Sayed a parent to a thanaweya amma student.

Second phase of university enrollment will start 2 August and will last for four days as in the first phase. Students will apply for vacant places at universities each according to his grades.

In response to these complaints Farahat stated that the server went down a lot because of the huge number of visitors who logged on at the same time. Whereas, head of enrollment office Al-Sayed Atta stated in a press release, that the server had never broke down until 22 July. He also explained that the number of students dealing with the website since the beginning of the coordination process last Sunday and until 22 July was 80,000 students. “The problem of power cut is a general issue, the whole country is suffering from, and the ministry has no solutions in the time being. By the beginning of the new fiscal year, we will consider buying new generators to overcome this problem,” added Atta.

At every university there are at least six computer labs available for students to enable them to fill in their application. A total of at least 4,000 computers in universities are available for pupils. Students eligible to apply in each of the three phases have four days to apply for universities, in addition to two or three days for amendments. The last day of the first round for students to apply for the university is today, Thursday, and the results are scheduled to come out by next week. Universities will receive 280,000 students this year.

Results in this year’s thanaweya amma have not been as high as in the past years. Pupils scoring less than 96 per cent overall are likely to face problems enrolling at the most coveted faculties of higher learning, which include medicine and pharmacology, political science, economics and mass communication. The limited number of places mean that students with lower grades are unlikely to get a look in. Indeed, all the students who obtained 70 per cent or less will have no place at university, and instead they will have to apply to the less prestigious institutes.

Students with adequate financial income can, of course, escape the whole dilemma by applying to private universities, where fees begin at least LE20,000 a year. Although they are private universities, students seeking to enroll in science subjects at these universities will need to have an overall score of at least 90 per cent, those seeking places on humanities courses 70 per cent or more.

The Ministry of Higher Education has set up a hotline, 19468, for students and parents to call for more information regarding the application process. “The problem is that there is absolutely no communication between the ministry and the people. The hotline they initiated was supposed to be a link between them but it turned out to be a big delusion,” revealed Al-Sayed.

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