Thanaweya Amma is a source of anxiety for students
The Ministry of Education is making final preparations for the Thanaweya Amma (high school grade 12) exams scheduled to start on 20 June and end 21 July. Around 650,000 students are scheduled to attend this year’s exams at 2,100 centres.
Thanaweya Amma are a series of standardised tests that serve as the entrance examination for universities and are therefore a source of anxiety to students and parents alike as results can determine the future of school children.
This year’s exams will be in paper form and will be answered on bubble sheets, not electronically.
Deputy Minister of Education Reda Hegazi said essay questions were scratched in both the science and arts sections, thus allowing a fully electronic grading system. “Students will be required to answer questions in a bubble sheet, in which 75 per cent of the questions will be suitable for average students, while the remaining 25 per cent will be for above average and outstanding students,” Hegazi said, adding that questions were conceived by specialists in various subjects in ways to cover the topics of the entire syllabus.
In recent years, the Ministry of Education introduced several changes to the Thanaweya Amma exams, with the aim of eventually replacing the decades-long system of memorising for tests with a system based on the comprehension of academic material. The new system involves student-centred teaching and competency-based learning.
Hegazi confirmed that Thanaweya Amma exams will not include any complex questions and will come directly from the curriculum. “Exam questions will be multiple choice but the options provided for students to choose from will be very similar. Therefore all students must focus,” Hegazi said.
According to Hegazi, although the exams are to be unified, there will be four different forms in each exam and the questions are arranged differently to prevent cheating.
The ministry’s general administration of examinations has already handed over the students’ candidate numbers. According to Hegazi, around 100,000 examiners will proctor students during the exams. “The ministry is already placing surveillance cameras in classrooms to prevent cheating. Also, a central operation room has been set up at the ministry’s headquarters to closely follow up the country’s examination process,” said Hegazi.
The number of students in each examination classroom will be limited to 16 to meet social distancing requirements. “Exams will be postponed for any student suffering from Covid-19 in order to guarantee the safety of other students. Medical documents proving the infection must be submitted before the beginning of the exams,” Mahmoud Hassouna, the ministry’s spokesman, said.
Hassouna said students along with examiners will be required to wear face masks during the exams. “The temperature of students, invigilators and staff will be taken,” stated Hassouna, while adding that examination stations along with classrooms will be disinfected before and after the exams.
A version of this article appears in print in the 16 June, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.