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381 Tawjihi-related accidents reported

By Laila Azzeh - Feb 14,2013 - Last updated at Feb 14,2013

AMMAN — As soon as the results of the General Secondary Education Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) winter session were out at 2:00am on Thursday, students and their families filled the Kingdom’s streets, engaging in festive firing and reckless driving. 

As of Thursday night, a total of 381 Tawjihi-related accidents had been reported, resulting in indefinite number of injuries. 

“We were surprised by the timing of the results. The Ministry of Education had said the results would be posted online at 10:00am [on Thursday],” Public Security Department (PSD) Lt. Col. Mohammad Khatib told The Jordan Times. 

“We still cannot determine the exact number of injuries caused by the festive behaviour,” Khatib highlighted, noting that despite warnings, people continue to commit the same violations after the announcement of the Tawjihi results. 

A PSD statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, said police issued 453 traffic tickets to Tawjihi celebratory processions on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Wajih Owais said the decision to post the results online before the time set by the ministry was meant to “avoid any hacking attempts”.

“A hacker penetrated our website a few days ago and changed the ministry’s logo. We wanted to make sure that this does not happen again and decided to issue the results ahead of time to prevent such surprises,” Owais said at a press conference. 

Meanwhile, Obaida Sarhan, an Amman resident, said she was “terrified” when she heard a volley of gunshots in the middle of the night. 

“I said to myself that tens of people will be dead by Thursday morning… this has to stop,” the 38-year-old mother of four told The Jordan Times.

A taxi driver in the capital told The Jordan Times that jubilant Tawjihi students filled the streets since the early hours of Thursday.

“But the police were strict with them, issuing tickets when they spotted any violations,” said the cabby, who preferred to remain unnamed.

The PSD said on Wednesday police patrols were out on the streets to prevent any violations.

The PSD’s frequent warnings against “reckless” acts that coincide with the announcement of the Tawjihi results usually falls on deaf ears, especially regarding fireworks and festive firing, which kill and injure several people each year.

In February 2012, the PSD reported 200 cases of reckless driving in the form of celebratory car processions in Amman following the announcement of the Tawjihi results.

At least four people were injured as a result of festive firing last year, while two female Tawjihi students from Madaba and Mafraq attempted suicide after failing in the exam, according to the PSD.

The Guns and Ammunition Law stipulates that anyone “unjustifiably” firing gunshots or using any explosive material faces a three-month jail term and a JD1,000 fine.

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