Cairo schools' 'fish birthday' art problem inspires laughter on Facebook

Ahram Online , Saturday 23 Jan 2016

A'fish birthday' arts exam's question that ignites controversy among middle school students

Imagine a birthday party for a fish under the sea; such was the request made of Egyptian teenagers in a Cairo art exam that went viral on Facebook recently.

Around 150,000 students in Cairo’s public schools, aged around 15, were asked on Tuesday to sketch various marine creatures who had gathered, with a cake and decorations, to celebrate the birthday of a fish.

The question has been doing the rounds on Facebook, causing mockery and leading parents to claim that it underestimates their children's intellectual abilities.

E3dady Sarcasm Society, a popular Facebook page that generates funny posts about life for Egypt's school-aged teenagers, posted a comic that poked fun at the exam.

Habiba Ashraf, a student at Al-Waily middle school in east Cairo, told Ahram Online she and her fellow pupils asked the teachers who were monitoring them during the arts exam what would they draw regarding a birthday for a fish.

“They [teachers] weren’t able to answer us,” Ashraf, who had expected the drawing question to be more realistic, said.

But prominent Egyptian artist Mohamed Abla defended the question, describing the parental criticism as “unjustified” and telling Ahram Online that such questions are good for children's imaginations.

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