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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

...That Jordan's most popular king was King Hussein, look at how ADNKrons, an Italian press agency, reported a news story of the last two days:

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

I have waited until 120,000 students finally get their marks, and reach today the end of the 'tragic' path of Tawjihi, to reply to the estimated blogger Saned and talk about the Jordanian general secondary certificate (Tawjihi).
Despite the fact that I agree with a large part of Saned's post, especially the social pressure and the necessity of changing the system, there were some points I find unfair and exaggerated, and some personal points that have no coincidences with my personal experience of Tawjihi.

First of all, I'm one of the Tawjihi students who made their exams in 2004, the year of the Tawjihi-gate , when some exams were stolen and sold to nearly all Jordanians students (except me), that was surely a cheap shot to the Jordanian education system, but although I agree with the need of changing something of the Tawjihi and I believe we need a total renovation of our obsolete educational system, there are some points I will discuss to explain that Tawjihi itself is like another school exam (I've understood this after years of university) and that thousands of students who succeeded in Tawjihi deserved that, and they should not underestimate their past efforts.

1- Tawjihi depends on how much you memorize and how much you understand. Personally, I have not a good memory; in addition, I think it's impossible to memorize something without understanding it. However, I've known nothing by heart and the majority of my answered question were general ideas, I was rewriting what I've learned in class or paraphrasing some sentences in the textbook and the result was almost good; I've got fine marks on these subjects, especially in "Social Studies".
In reality, there is not a Social Studies book, it is called "General Culture" and it is unscientific and totally unrelated with culture, and after many students and instructors complained about the quality of this book, the ministry finally decided to change the book this year. But we must mention that this subject together with the Islamic Studies are the two worst examples: most of the marks depend on subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology and other subjects like Arabic and English that are impossible to memorize.

2- Tawjihi marks are normal distributed, only one or two students will get a full mark on Math exam, but more students will get a 90% mark and more will get 80% and so on. And if you take a full mark, that's the fruit of your efforts and not of your teacher.

3- Tawjihi questions are sometimes wrong, well, errare humanum est , we have Tawjihi for more than 30 years, and it is normal to find two wrong questions. Take in consideration that Tawjihi exams have something like 500 questions (yearly)!
Another thing I have noticed in Tawjihi is that many teachers tell students that a particular question is wrong, but if you ask the same question to a more experienced teacher or a university professor he will contradict your teacher and will give you the right answer.

4- The last-years fashion of private tuition is ridicule, I'm sure you know a lot of people who got a reasonable mark without private tutors, and vice versa. My personal opinion is that private tuition is more a social prestige rather than an educational need.
And about some Tawjihi students and their new hobby: collecting "dosyyat". Well, it's the most time-spending activity they may have since most of these "dosyaat" are repetitive, bad-organized and not educative.

5- Tawjihi makes you study physics, and that's a good thing, not only if you will study Engineering at university. Students get in the secondary stage a scientific knowledge base ; this will help them know more about the world that they live in! Even if some scientific subjects will not benefit you directly in your future studies, or you don't like them, they will provide you some necessary scientific facts you should know and the needed information that build a common base for all sciences. Even if you will study architecture you have to know who Niels Bohr was!

6- Tawjihi's new system allows those who do not pass the exams for the first time to repeat them on the same year, so if we have 14 Tawjihi subjects we will get something like 25 exams: this means we need at least 25 days to take all of them (If we count an exam for day), this is why Tawjihi exams period is so long .

7- We also know that most students do not fail at their first exams, some exams need more preparation time than others (i.e Math, Physics), there are subjects you can take in Summer or Winter, there are exams on subject not all the students take (Islamic Studies, French.. etc); all these make the Tawjihi's schedule very complex and do not allow to have the same quantity of time before each exam. However it is practically impossible to create an "optimal" schedule for all the students.
(In Saned's post there is a complain about having 3 days before English exam and only a half day before Social Studies, what Saned pretends is a clear contradiction to students' fear of English exam shared by the majority of Jordanian students, and in reality most students fail English test and get good mark at Social Studies).

10- Students are not obligated to study in toilets; the assumption that this is one of the wrong things of Tawjihi is absurd.

11- Let's see how Tawjihi exams are corrected (I know two correctors that told me the steps as written here, you can also ask any corrector if you want more details)

a) For each exam different correctors are chosen, the correctors are instructors who work for the Ministry of Education.
b) Correctors are distributed based on what they teach: biology teachers correct biology exams, Arabic teachers correct Arabic exam, and so on. It's impossible that a physical education teacher will correct math papers!
c) An answer key is given to each corrector.
d)  Personal information on each answer sheet are sealed and hidden, this operation is done right after you complete your exam in the examination hall.
I remember when we finished our exams, the answer sheets were grouped, after that, personal data were covered by folding a paper sheet on the first page and then glued. This operation was done in front of us.
e)  The location of the correction operation is chosen randomly. Aqaba's instructors will correct Amman 's papers; Aqaba's papers are corrected in Irbid… There is only a minimal chance your paper will be corrected in your city.
f) An answer in your paper is first corrected by a corrector.
g) A second instructor reviews your answer and re-corrects it.
h) A third corrector finally assures there are no mistakes in the first and second correction.
i)  Another answer is corrected by other correctors.
j)  When all answers are corrected, the summation of your point is evaluated.
k)  The score of every answer is inserted into the computer, and the data entry is warned if the computer-generated summation is different from that of step (j).

12- Tawjihi hall conditions are terrible, because many school rooms in Jordan are terrible ! Do you know that most of the students (in public schools) take their tests in their school halls, only private schools students have to go to different institutions.

13- Tawjihi defines you, only because you are obsessed with Tawjihi, right now, after three years of my Tawjihi no one asks me of my marks or if I was in scientific or arts stream.
Let's be serious! Many people with bad marks on Tawjihi get a job, an education and they reach a good economic level and have a fine social reputation, some of them only with their talent become of the most famous Jordanians. On the other side, a typical Tawjihi genius rather studies medicine to become one of the 5,000 Jordanian doctors or simply choose a faculty only for a social conviction that it's better, without any ambition! Jordan is full of these cases!

14- Tawjihi is against non-Jordanians! I don't think so. First of all, correction procedures I've mentioned above do not allow to see your personal data. Then I have not noticed that number ones are Jordanians, at the contrary, all we unfortunately know Mohammad Asha , the brilliant Tawjihi student who won a scholarship to Jordan University's medical school since he was one of the "top ten" Tawjihi students, do you know he is from Hebron?
This is one case, but I invite everyone to see accurately the students with the highest marks of the last years, I have done that and I have found that non-Jordanians are the majority!

"Authorities will never hesitate to take off points from you to let the son or daughter of an Army member to be number one in school". I think it is normal not to trust in some institutions, but do you think this is a little exaggerated? How many sons of generals and commanders you know that got good marks? I know some of them and they have either studied outside Jordan or took very low grades and entered universities by the military quota.
I will ask another question: Is every number one in all Jordanian schools a son of an Army member?
For non-Jordanians: University quotas are one of the most unjust procedures of Jordanian education system, they may permit a son of a soldier, a diplomatic, a university employee in addition to some residents of rural zones and Palestinian refugees camps to get a university scholarship even if his Tawjihi's marks do not allow that.

16- Many students prefer to get ICGSE, IB or SAT not because these systems are better , but because a big part of them studied for years in private schools with American and British curricula and these exams are also easier , i.e. it is more probable you will get a high mark on IGCSE rather than Tawjihi. And that is not an opinion, it is a fact. Let's see the statistics: 9.9% of students got an A grade or above in IGCSE, the Tawjihi equivalent is 95/100, and only 321 students in the kingdom had this grade (that is 0.003% !!!! The same difference appears if we talk about SAT, 85% of students passed SAT exams in 2006 when the Tawjihi's percentage was 63.6% in one of its best years.[1]

17- I have not memorized words in English; the glossary was 12 pages long, and I think no one can memorize 12 pages of words and definitions!

Points 8,9,15 and 18- Tawjihi kills, right, the people and the students are obsessed with these exams and the families are preoccupied for their sons. In Jordan if your son gets jailed it is normal, but his failure in Tawjihi will be the most embarrassing and shameful thing that may happen.

The main problem is that Tawjihi is connected with university admission , and the Jordanian society thinks that a university education is a must for all students.
If we will be able to create a system in which university admission is unrelated (or partially related) to Tawjihi scores, we will solve major Tawjihi problems, students and families will be less stressed, Tawjihi will have less importance and students will have a bigger opportunity to choose the college and the major they prefer.

[1] 2006 SAT statistics from here, 2005 IGCSE statistics from here and 2006 Tawjihi statistics from the Minister of Education press conference reported in this article.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

الأموال هي التي تطلق الألسنة وتحرك الأقلام، وقناة الجزيرة كغيرها من القنوات التجارية لا تخرج من هذه القاعدة. وأنا متأكد أنكم لاحظتم في الآونة الأخيرة وخاصةً الشهر الماضي تركيزاً من قبل هذه القناة على الجمهورية التركية.

كنا نرى تقارير عن تركيا في جميع نشرات الأخبار، وبعض منها كانت تقارير وأخبار مطولة، بالإضافة إلى برامج خاصة كانت تبث من أنقرة أو اسطنبول أثناء حصاد اليوم والجزيرة منتصف اليوم والجزيرة هذا الصباح كل هذا كان مصطحباً بإسهامات من خبراء وساسة وعلماء ومثقفين أتراك عبر البث الفضائي وعلى الهواء مباشرة، بالإضافة أنه كانت هناك برامج خاصة باسم "عين على تركيا".

ولا بد أن أقول أنه زاد إعجابي بتركيا، وكل تلك التقارير والأخبار السارة عن تقدم تركيا وحضارتها وإسهاماتها في التاريخ الإسلامي أحدثت ثورةً ما في قلبي، أصبحت أرى تركيا بعين العاشق إلى عشيقته، صرت أحب تركيا.

ومهما كانت التقارير، سواء عن إسلامية أردوغان أو عن علمانية أتاتورك، عن التطور الصناعي في مجال الألبسة أو عن مزارع الضفادع التركية "ذات الجودة العالية"، كانت تقارير مشرقة إيجابية كانت دائما تُظهر ما كانت تدعى الدولة العثمانية على أنها في قمة الرقي والتحضر.

وربما الأمر مصادفة (!) أنه ومنذ ذلك الوقت وتركيا (اقصد الحكومة التركية) تضخ في ميزانية الجزيرة مقداراً غير قليل من الأموال، إذ أن قناة الجزيرة امتلأت بالإعلانات التجارية عن تركيا، فأصبحت الليرات التركية بلا شك مصدرَ رزق للقناة التي تبث من الدوحة، والتي قل دعم الحكومة القطرية لها كثيراً.

وسؤالي البسيط هو: لماذا لا تدفع الحكومة الأردنية عن طريق هيئة تنشيط السياحة الدولارات الكثار للجزيرة لعلنا نشتريها كما اشترتها تركيا؟

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The guys of the Computer Center have made a good job, after the more-than-six-months beta test, the new website of JUST has been officially launched : A cutting edge look, better performance and more functionality!

If you are a JUST student and you enter on your web browser you will get a surprise, the old ugly site of Jordan University of Science and Technology changed look definitely, it has been replaced by a new site with a better choice of colors, styles and an enhanced functionality. The user-friendly interface provides two menus, the one on the top with services for students, alumni and visitors, and the right one for academic services, this one changes as you visit different sections of the site.

Based on ASP.NET technology, with a relevant utilization of AJAX features, the new site offers some newer technologies and, for sure, a more innovative design compared with the previous site, however there are a few things I think the Computer Center should work on:

1- The Arabic website, and most of the sections in Arabic are under construction.
2- Some pages on English website are in Arabic, I don't know why.
3- The documents are in .doc format rather than .pdf (I know that Micro$oft rules there, but PDF is a standard)
4- Some broken links (Ouch!).
5- New features must be added to the library page (e.g a student can see when a book's loan period ends)
6- Please make a really interactive map or something similar to a GIS, all maps on the current site are unhelpful.

I promise that I'll carry these points to the Computer Center (I'm in good relations with them), and if anyone has a suggestion leave a comment :)

These are some random photos on the home page, they show how JUST student are proud of their university :)

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

A quick attempt to google "Jihad Barbie" will split out several pictures of an attractive Barbie doll wearing an explosive belt full of dynamite, in another photo an elegant ladies bag hold by Barbie is full of nails while a detonator is highlighted, the photos are not so different from real commercial campaigns of the American fashion doll...

I know what you are going to ask: why are you searching for "Jihad Barbie" in Google? Good question, in reality I was browsing one of the "funny pictures" sites, and the previous image was tagged as Palestine Barbie!!

Personally, I have not found it funny, at contrary they're somehow sad, the title itself is offensive as it tries to depict all Palestinians as suicide bombers, the things are even worse when these images are connected (in a cynic way) with real life situation, in fact, I was looking at how some persons use these pictures in favor of their anti-Islamic political views, the previous Google search revealed some neo-cons blogs, other results connect the pictures, in a totally illogical way, to Fulla; the Arabic doll wearing hijab, loved by millions of Muslim girls but seen as "sign of submission" by others.

Anyway, these childlike pictures are powerful, the addition of the dynamite turned Barbie -an icon of the American culture- to our more terrific enemy: the suicide bomber. Yes, Barbie our feminine icon of the western woman, daughter or mother became our scariest nightmare… and I still try to find something funny.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

For all Malcolm In The Middle fans (like me): you can watch fifth season's episodes starting from tonight on MBC4, Saturdays - Wednesdays at 9:00 PM GMT (00:00 AM Jordan Time). So, I've finally found a good reason to turn to MBC4!

As I cited in my profile, this is my favorite TV show, I know that some of my friends dislike the fact I always find the opportunity to talk about Malcolm and refer to some of its stories, but, really this sitcom is GREAT!

If you don't know what formidable thing is Malcolm in the Middle, this is a good chance -even if late- to start watching it!


Friday, July 06, 2007


Jerusalem Map in 1973WorldNetDaily ( reported that Jordanian government is secretly buying lands and real estate surrounding the Temple Mount (i.e. Haram Sharif). The site cited anonymous Israeli and Palestinian officials, and quoted from Israeli newspaper Maariv that members of the Jordanian royal family has been leading efforts to purchase properties to "'to solidify kingdom's already strong presence there".

According to WND, Jordan bought or try to buy: apartments, shops, properties from Arab landowners, real estate and it recently place a bid to buy Jerusalem's Intercontinental Hotel, all this through Jordanian shell companies which have presented themselves as acting on behalf of the Waqf:

Sheik Azzam Khateeb, who was installed in February as the new manager of the Waqf, is known to be close to the Jordanian monarchy. The previous Waqf manager, Sheik Adnon Husseini, was loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and had relations with Israel and some Jewish groups."Khateeb answers directly to Jordan," a Fatah official told WND.

My own comment: Israeli press is amazing.



Jordanian Prisoners (PETRA)No, this news story is not about Islamic fundamentalists accusing the Jordanian government, by the way the IAF has already issued its strong sentence on prisoners' repatriation, on the opposite site, we see that Almagor - "Terror Victims Association" said that the government (the Israeli government) tried to cover up the release of Jordanian "terrorists", in addition the director of the group accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of "succumbing to years of pressure from the Jordanian government to free the murderers" and stated that "It is clear to all that Jordan’s intention is to release them (the prisoners) as soon as possible". [Source]

It's interesting that there's always someone who tries to complain.



Mohammed Asha Suspected (AFP/REUTERS)A British priest said this was the cryptic warning made to him in Jordan by a purported al-Qaida chief months before the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow, he met an extremist man privately with a translator and sheik after holding talks with Sunni Muslim tribal and religious leaders April 18 in the Jordanian capital, Amman, and he said that "he meets regularly with extremists".

Well, personally I do not meet regularly with extremists, but if I were you:
1- I would have informed Jordanian police.
2- I would have warned UK embassy.
3- I wouldn't been silent for all this time.
4- Most important: I would have stopped meeting with "extremists". I think you the UK law can accuse you of terrorism, right?

On the same subject, the conservative party invited the UK government to stop recruiting Jordanian doctors, it's "illegal" they said. [Source]

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Daba7tona! : You've Slaughtered Us!

استمراراً لحملة جمع التواقيع الموجهة إلى رئاسة الوزراء والمطالبة بوقف رفع الرسوم الجامعية وخفضها بما يتناسب ودخل المواطن ، قامت مجموعة من طلبة حملة"ذبحتونا" بجمع تواقيع طلبة من جامعة اليرموك من خارج أسوار الجامعة كون جمع التواقيع داخل الجامعة قد يعرضهم للفصل من الجامعة ، إلا أن الطلبة تفاجأوا بقيام الأجهزة المعنية باعتقال اثنين منهم والتحقيق معهم داخل أسوار الجامعة ومن ثم قاموا بتحويلهم إلى الأجهزة خارج الجامعة

الطالبان هما ماهر النمري وأحمد العدوان
!You Have Slaughtered Us

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Jordanian Under 20 Football Team

Reunite with your friends, bring huge buckets of popcorn in front of a large screen TV, or smoke tasty argeeleh in your favorite coffee shop, do not forget the Jordanian flag and most important give a big support to the Nashama!

Jordanian debut on U-20 Fifa World Cup: Tonight at 00:15 (Jordan Time) JORDAN - ZAMBIA