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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).
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".
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)!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
"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.
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.
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.