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Egypt's PM freezes new Thanaweya Amma grading system following student protests

The electronic system allocated 10 percent of the students' grades to attendance and behaviour

Ahram Online , Saturday 24 Oct 2015
Egyptian school students
Egyptian school students protest against the new grading system last week in Gharbiya governorate. (Photo: Facebook)
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Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail froze a new grading decision following protests by students objecting to its implementation.

Tens of students protested for the second time on Saturday in front of downtown Cairo's education ministry.

The new electronic system would have allocated 10 percent of the students' grades to attendance and behaviour. It was enacted at the beginning of the 2015/2016 academic year and was introduced by new education minister El-Helali El-Sherbini.

El-Sherbini had insisted in a statement released on Thursday that the ministry would not back down on implementing new rules, arguing that they aim to restore "order" in the public school system.

For years, 100 percent of the Thanaweya Amma students' grades were based on their performance in the final year's exams.

Due to deteriorating education conditions in Egypt, many students resort to expensive private lessons and choose to avoid overcrowded and understaffed classes.

Students had also protested against the 10% provision in recent days in several governorates including Cairo, Giza, Red Sea, Gharbiya and Menoufiya.

The protesters also demanded that all questions in the final exams be based solely on the curriculum, not just 70 percent as the new system stipulates.

Students have launched a Facebook campaign against the new rules called "Students of the 2016 thanaweya amma against the 10 attendance marks".

"We won't keep quiet about this unfair new system," the campaign statement reads.

This year, 531,800 have registered for Thanaweya Amma, the final year of high school, which determines who qualifies to attend universities and colleges.

Thanaweya amma students must take highly competitive and complex tests in order to continue on to higher education. Which institutions accept them depends on their marks.

Tests in recent years have been marred by cheating and the leaking of exam questions on social media outlets.

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