After the results of the “thanaweya ‘amma” (high school certificate) final exams were published live yesterday, the Egyptian public opinion became split between supporters of the revolutionary changes to the education system, and others, including many parents and students, dreading them.
Before the results were announced, Egypt’s Education Minister Tarek Shawki revealed that this year’s results are lower than last year and all the previous years, which therefore lowers the minimum requirement for university admission. Shawki highlighted that the success rate for students in the academic year 2020/21 is 74 percent, compared to 81.5 percent in the year 2019/20.
This year, 20,190 students achieved more than 90 percent compared to more than 90,000 students last year. For the first time in decades, none of the students in “thanaweya ‘amma” achieved 100 percent. This comes as part of the ministry’s efforts to transition to a new assessment system.
“No one achieves full marks in international exams,” said Shawki in a phone interview on ‘Hadrat Al Mowaten’ television show.
Shawki gave the Arabic language as an example for a subject where students cannot get full marks except if they have memorised the subject matter of the exam, which is almost impossible. The aim of the exams today, he argues, is to test how well the student has understood the syllabus, not how much they have memorised.
In his interview, the minister explained that the ministry is committed to improving the quality of education in the country, and stressed that every year will be better than the year before.
Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel Ghaffar announced that the minimum grades required for admission for the first stage to university for science students is 88.4 percent compared to 97.6 percent last year, 80 percent compared to 94.4 percent for mathematics, and 65.7 percent compared to 79.9 percent for arts.
In 2018, the Egyptian government announced major reforms to the education system, where they would implement a multidisciplinary curriculum, a digital system for examinations, and a focus on understanding instead of memorisation.
Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.