Students complete exams successfully after initial problems with new test system: Egypt ministry

Ahmed Morsy , Wednesday 22 May 2019

Examined with tablets

Egypt’s Ministry of Education said in a statement on Tuesday that 97 percent of grade 10 students have successfully completed their foreign language electronic exam, which utilises tablets and the internet.

The ministry statement comes days after the new electronic testing system failed as first-year high school (grade 10) students were taking the first and second end-of-year exams earlier this week.

The ministry said that "427,432 out of 585,980 students in the first grade of high school have taken the electronic test on their third day of the final year exams."

Almost all of the first-year high school exams are conducted using tablets, while some take the tests on paper pending the implementation of the new system.

Undersecretary of the education ministry Ali Abdel-Raouf said that the third day of grade 10 exams went smoothly with only a few problems, which should be fixed during the coming days.

On Sunday, the first day of grade 10 exams, the tablet system failed in most of the country’s schools. The majority of the students were not able to take their Arabic exam, and were given paper tests instead.

The students also complained on the first exam day that the Wi-Fi networks did not work.

However, the situation significantly improved on the second day during the Biology exam, although the online system was still down in some schools. According to the education ministry, 409,704 students were tested electronically on the second day of exams.

On Tuesday, dozens of grade 10 students staged a protest in front of the education ministry headquarters demanding the cancellation of the electronic exams. On the same day, hundreds of students demonstrated in Daqahliya governorate over the "failure of the new system."

Two months ago, Minister of Education Tarek Shawky stressed that the end-of-year tests would not be administered using tablets before their efficiency is ensured.

This year’s grade 10 students have studied a revamped curriculum that places greater stress on comprehension rather than memorising and utilises the new electronic exam system.

The overhauled education system was put into effect this year for kindergarten, grade one and grade 10 students.

The system will be rolled out gradually until it covers all primary, preparatory and secondary schools. During the next academic year, the new system will be applied in grade 11. It will reach preparatory stage pupils only after it has been rolled out to cover all secondary students.

Previous attempts throughout the year to have grade 10 students take experimental exams using their tablets were plagued with glitches.

Shawky previously said on his personal Facebook page, "We expected challenges in the early days and we will overcome them before the end of the week."

"Let us remember that the goal of the experimental tests was to introduce students to new types of questions ahead of the end-of-year exams," and not to introduce them to the new technology, the minister said.

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