COVID-19 rules compound students’ Tawjihi stress

This year, the pandemic and the restrictions it has brought with it, have students more stressed than usual they say. (Photo: Pixabay)
This year, the pandemic and the restrictions it has brought with it, have students more stressed than usual they say. (Photo: Pixabay)
AMMAN — Every year, students spend hours studying and reviewing for the annual Tawjihi exam, which determines a graduate’s options for university and employment.اضافة اعلان

This year, the pandemic and ensuing restrictions, including a rule that students who test positive cannot take the examination, have made the experience even more challenging.

The Ministry of Education’s Secretary General Najwa Qbeilat confirmed to Jordan News that students who test positive for COVID-19 within 13 days of the examination, scheduled to take place between June 24 and July 15, will be unable to take the national test.

The students can take the test during December instead, she explained.

Additionally, students who test positive but quarantine for 10 days if they are asymptomatic and 13 days if they have symptoms before the exam date, can still take the exam.

Tala Jaber, a student who will be taking the Tawjihi exam this year, said that the rule is “not fair”. She suggested that students who test positive for COVID-19 close to the test date should be able to take it in isolation, rather than wait until December. “It’s not good”, she said.

Students aren’t required to take a PCR test to take the Tawjihi exam. However, if they experience symptoms or come into contact with someone with COVID-19 during the weeks prior to the exam, they’re encouraged to tell their teachers and get tested.

Jaber suggested that knowing that they will be unable to take the test on time if they test positive might discourage students from getting tested at all, even if they experience symptoms of COVID-19.

“Every senior right now is worried about the exams in general,” wrote Hala Najdawi, who is also taking the exam this year, in a message to Jordan News. “I don’t really think they care about catching the virus.”

The student pointed out that since many Jordanians have either already had COVID-19, been vaccinated, or both, fears about the disease itself are abating. “So I think it’s the least of their worries at the moment,” she said.

“Don’t forget about the precautions we’ll be taking while going to do our exams,” Najdawi added. “We’ll be wearing our masks the whole time, we can’t really hug each other or say hi by handshaking, or just be close to anyone, even if they’re coronavirus free.”

The Ministry of Education has issued official guidelines regarding Tawjihi and COVID-19 safety precautions. They encouraged students to “stay at home and reduce mixing with others” prior to the exam, and to observe health guidelines, including wearing masks and social distancing. 

Students who have symptoms of the virus and visit the hospital should inform the doctor that they are students planning to take Tawjihi “in order to follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health in this regard.”

In addition to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) also recently announced that they will ban instant messaging apps in the schools where students sit for the examinations.

The ban begins shortly before the examination starts each day and stops afterwards. It is intended to prevent cheating or leaked exam answers. But as Jaber told Jordan News, this restriction takes place “every year.”

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