Education ministry caught in Thanaweya Amaa dilemma

Ahram Online , Wednesday 12 Jun 2013

Thanaweya Amma exams this year are unsurprisingly fraught with complainants, now over question leaks and power cuts

Thanaweya Amaa
(Photo: Ahram)

Egyptian high school students, who are currently in the process of taking their final exams before graduation, are facing a variety of challenges amid reports of leaks of exam answers.

The ‘thanaweya amma’ is the last stage of high school education in Egypt. The stage, which was previously spread over two years but now lasts just for one, culminates in notoriously grueling exams, the results of which typically determine a student’s path to higher education.

The difficulty of the questions has not been the only problem since the commencement of this year’s exam period on 8 June. There have been reports of recurrent leaks of both Arabic and English language exams, as well as power cuts during exam time.

Following torrents of complaints and student protests on Monday over the difficulty of some questions in the Arabic language exam, the education ministry decided to remove the problematic questions from the mark scheme, Ahram’s Arabic news website reported.

In a Tuesday press conference, the ministry announced that the marks of two of the questions would be divided up among the rest of the exam.

Using social media websites and cross-platform instant messaging applications, students at a school in the Daqahlia governorate circulated a photo of the English language paper during the exam. Students reportedly sent the photos to their tutors, who forwarded them the answers

The incident, which was not the first of its kind, was eventually confirmed by ministry officials who had earlier claimed the leaks were from another exam taking place in Sudan.

There were other reports circulating of answered question papers during the Arabic language exam last Saturday.

Reda Mosaad, head of the ministry's General Education Department, however, denied that the exam was leaked, saying that a small number of students who finished the exam early had shared answered questions later with fellow students via Facebook.

Mosaad said that the students responsible for the incident and members of the Facebook group had been identified and will be banned from taking exams for two years.

The education ministry has also received a chorus of complaints about frequent power cuts in the lead-up to the vital exams which have prevented students from revising. Other students reported blackouts during the exams.

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