Tawjihi and the ministry's rigorous practices

تم نشره في Tue 18 February / Feb 2014. 12:00 AM

By Jamil Nimri

The Ministry of Education did not commit any errors in regards to the timing of the announcement of the results of the general secondary examination "Tawjihi".

It did not announce the dates and then altered them, it is not responsible for the expectations that the grades would be announced ahead of the schedule, because some people claimed to have obtained them, nor because some enjoyed sending fake congratulation texts that some TV channels displayed although the results had not yet appeared.

But all this confusion reflects the students and parents' level of tension, which might have doubled because of the rumors that the grades are generally low. What we could see so far is that the top achievers' grades are below what they were last year. However, a comparative study of the grades are in need to assess the impact of rigorous practices by the ministry to curb cheating. We also must wait for the summer session to compare the final results of 2013 and 2014 .

This year, with the ministry's rigorous practices, we found out how things were done in the past, and how many leaks there were. The extent to which these things have happened made it seem as if cheating and leaking questions were right and morally unacceptable, that made people oppose the ministry's rigorous practices, and push some of the student's friends to gangster-like behavior outside the test halls to sabotage the tests, after they failed to breach the testing halls.

A careful comparison should be made between the results of all the tests and the total results of both terms against last year's. This could show us if cheating was always in the margins, or if it was more widespread than what we thought.

Of course, many doubted the efficiency of the procedures, talked about cheating facilitations in many remote areas, and the inability of the ministry to know of all the cheating incidents or prevent them. Unfortunately, though, there's no way to confirm these allegations. What we can do, however, is study a new mechanism for the test, next to the rigorous monitoring, to make prevent cheating or make it useless. There were some procedures announced by the minister, like using central halls within the universities, a questions bank that would make every test paper different than the other, and other mechanisms that could be innovated to stop the technology cheating.

The Tawijihi exam should not be a cause of all this anxiety and state of alert all year in any house with a Tawjihi student. Also, the grade each gets in the Tawjihi should not be the only base that defines the future of the student forever. We should, starting now, create a research project, that could get us results before the end of the next term, to arrive at a formula for the test and a method for university admission. We know that these are points of contention; there are many who defends the current exam formula, even some are calling for a return to the previous, classical one - scraping the midterm tests, and doing one test only at the end of the school year. There's consensus, as it appears, on narrowing the study fields into two only; regular (academic) and vocational.

In any case, if the Tawjihi formula changes - which I personally support - the university admission procedure should be changed too. One seemingly plausible suggestion is to create a unified first year at a university for all similar academic disciplines, the students grade in which qualifies them to a specific field later on.

@jamilnimri

 

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.

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