Egypt’s high school exams – known as Thanaweya Amma exams – for the academic year of 2020/21 and for literary and scientific divisions will start from Saturday 19 July and continue until Monday 2 August, Education Minister Tarek Shawky said on Saturday.
In a press conference, Shawky noted that Thanaweya Amma exams of students of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) high schools are scheduled to take place from Sunday 11 July and will continue until Thursday 5 August.
As for visually-impaired students, their Thanaweya Amma exams will be conducted on 11 July and are to last until 3 August, Shawky added.
This year’s exams will be held electronically (using tablets) with a printed question paper available to all students, in order for them to be secured against any sudden technical problems that may occur on the tablet or against any power outages and any other problem that may affect the main servers, said Shawky.
In order to ensure full justice for all students, he said, the exams’ answers will be corrected electronically using the same mechanism and without human intervention.
Students who have not received a tablet will only take exams in paper-form, the minister stated.
Meanwhile, students who contract the virus during the exam period have the right to postpone their exams.
Students will be allowed to enter the exam with their own copies of the government’s book of the subject that they are taking but other books or papers will not be permitted, Shawky said.
All questions will be in the form of multiple choice (MCQ) and there will be a balance between the difficulty level of the questions and the time set for the exam.
The exam will assess the students’ understanding of the subject rather than the ability to memorise information, because memorising has proven to show negative results, Shawky said.
The ministry will conduct its planned third experimental exam for the Thanaweya Amma students from 21st to 28th June, said the minister. This will require each student to come to the school examination hall only once and then take the rest of these exams at home.
On Thursday, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that the national system of final exams taken by Thanaweya Amma students will be a mix of digital and hard-copy, adding that such a new exam system was tested in the past for two months to make the process run smoothly online.
On Saturday, Shawky clarified that a third experimental exam, which students are required to attend at test committees for one day, will be held from Monday 21 June to the 28th of the same month to re-examine the new system.
According to the minister, the goals of the trial exam are to familiarise students with the official examination committees; obtain test seating numbers; test the use of the tablet’s Babel Sheet; get the username and password for those who hadn’t in previous trials and also to test the efficiency of servers and internal networks.