Minimum grades required for admission to 'prestigious' public faculties drop for 1st time in decades

Ahram Online , Sunday 29 Aug 2021

The passing rate of the Thanaweya Amma exams in the recently concluded 2020/2021 academic year is 74 percent, a significant decrease from the 81.5 percent of the previous year

Higher Education Khaled Abdel Ghaffar speaking in a press briefing on Sunday, 29 August 2021, 2021, about the minimum admission base required for the faculties of the first phase of universities coordination in Egypt (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education)

The minimum grades required for admission into Egyptian public universities for the upcoming 2021/22 academic year — including the most desirable faculties, such as medicine and engineering — have recorded a considerable drop for the first time in decades.

The admission requirements for the first phase of the most desirable universities in the country were announced by Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar during a press briefing on Sunday in Cairo, hours after the stage's students submitted their university applications.

University admissions in Egypt are divided into three stages representing different grade categories, with the first stage reserved for the students that scored the highest in their Thanaweya Amma exams.

The first stage includes 220 higher education institutions this year, Abdel-Ghaffar pointed out.

This year, high school seniors in the science division that have managed to achieve a cumulative grade of 90.2 percent or above will be welcomed into around 37 public medicine and dentistry universities, the requirements of which were always above 97-98 percent in the past several years.

The requirements for 25 public physiotherapy and pharmacy universities countrywide have decreased as well, creating several vacancies for students scoring 88.5 percent or higher.

Students in the mathematics division with a score of 80 percent will also be accepted this year into 20 engineering universities — engineering being the most prestigious major achievable in the division. The minimum grade requirement to major in engineering in a public university in Egypt has been no less than 94 percent for years.

As for students in the humanities division, 138 faculties were included in the first phase of university admissions, with the minimum requirements to major in political science and economics or foreign languages being set at 86.2 percent and 84.8 percent respectively; a 10 percent drop from previous years.

Some of the top universities in the country still have room for second-stage students, who are scheduled to commence choosing their desired majors starting Tuesday, with the final requirements for the second stage set to be announced shortly, the higher education minister said.

The drop in requirements is a result of the newly introduced changes to the Thanaweya Amma examinations, which significantly lowered the passing rate and ended the phenomenon of students obtaining full marks in their senior year of high school.

The passing rate of the Thanaweya Amma exams in the recently concluded 2020/2021 academic year — which was attended by roughly 650,000 students — is 74 percent, a significant decrease from the 81.5 percent of the previous year.

Egypt introduced bubble sheet-based exams for Thanaweya Amma students in the 2020/21 academic year for the first time ever, with non-standardised models provided for all divisions.

The change in examination styles aimed to gauge students’ critical thinking skills and abolish the culture of memorising for exams, according to Minister of Education Tarek Shawky.

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