Egypt to reinstate short essay questions in Thanaweya Amma exams

Habiba Hamdy , Monday 26 Sep 2022

Minister of Education Reda Hegazy announced on Sunday that short essay questions will be reinstated in the Thanaweya Amma exams, as part of the state's recent efforts to promote learning through comprehension over memorisation.

Thanaweya Amma


The exam, which has been based on Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) for the last two academic years, will now include short essay questions, the recently-appointed education minister told a virtual meeting with directors of the county's educational directorates.

Short essays will comprise no higher than 15 percent of the test’s total score depending on the subject, Hegazy explained.

The ministry will train 5,000 teachers on the new system, according to a ministry statement.

The Thanaweya Amma (or high school grade 12) exams are critical for students and parents alike since they determine university prospects based on the grades obtained.

Over the past two years, the education ministry has introduced a series of changes to these exams, scratching long essay and short answer questions while using more MCQs.

The new exams, which are answered through bubble sheets and on-screen marking, are part of the state's effort to replace the decades-old system based on memorisation with a modern system based on the comprehension of academic material.

The introduction of the new exam system in 2019 resulted in less students passing the Thanaweya Amma exams, with the pass rate declining from 81.5 percent in the 2019-2020 academic year to 75 percent in 2021-2022.

The decision is the second major move by the newly-appointed minister to revamp the education system after he modified the fourth grade curriculum for the 2022/2023 school year due to complaints from many parents.

Hegazy, who took office in August, has stressed that his ministry will press ahead with the state's plan to overhaul the education system, though he added that there will possibly be a change in the implementation mechanisms.

The new education system is expected to be fully implemented by 2030.

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