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Teachers syndicate, students criticise move to hold one Tawjihi session every academic year

By Laila Azzeh - Dec 12,2015 - Last updated at Dec 12,2015

Students review for a test in a previous General Secondary Education Certificate Examination summer session

AMMAN — The Jordan Teachers Association (JTA) and several students on Saturday criticised a recent decision to hold the General Secondary Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) once every academic year.

Under a decision by the Education Council, one Tawjihi examination session will be held every year, instead of two, starting from the 2016-17 scholastic year. 

In a statement, the Education Ministry announced that it will make the necessary arrangements to implement the decision, which is in line with the recommendation of the Educational Development Conference held earlier this year.

However, the JTA noted that the decision would "increase anxiety, fear and the burden on students, their parents and educators". 

"The fate of students after 12 years of school is determined by the Tawjihi. The decision will negatively affect them, especially as a lot of pressure is already placed on them during the last year of school," JTA Spokesperson Ayman Okour told The Jordan Times.

He added that splitting final exams to two sessions used to give students "time to breathe" and allow them to concentrate on their studies more. 

"On the other hand, the ministry is yet to decide how students will retake the exams they fail in. They used to have a second chance in the two-session system," he added. 

Teacher Hussam Awad said the ministry should have worked on innovation and quality in education instead of focusing on restoring the prestige of the exam. 

Maher Armouti, who will sit for Tawjihi next year, expressed his "shock" over the decision.

"I used to tease my older brother who sat for one session in 2003. He keeps saying it was a bad decision and I used to tell him that his days were over. Now I will go through the same thing. Just my luck," the 17-year-old student told The Jordan Times. 

He noted that his "biggest fear" is that the literary stream is "stuffed with materials to memorise" and that being tested for "lengthy subjects" at one session would make him forget the information.

"The two sessions used to give students the chance to understand more and not panic about having to be tested on the whole textbook at one sitting," the JTA spokesperson said. 

In remarks last Thursday to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Education Minister Mohammad Thneibat said holding one Tawjihi session every year will have a positive impact on students since they will be tested in fewer courses.

Students will be tested for some courses only at their schools, Thneibat added, noting that fewer subjects will also be counted in the Tawjihi score.

The two-session examination system costs the ministry around JD25 million, with each session requiring over four-and-a-half months of preparations.

 

Students' scores on Tawjihi decides their fate in higher education, in terms of which university they can apply to and what major to study.

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