New format tawjihi exams kick off amid strict safety measures

A security officer checks the temperatures of tawjihi students as they enter the examination hall to sit for their first exam of the 2021 summer session, at a school in Amman, on June 24, 2021. (Photo: Leen Aljadid/JNews)
AMMAN — Secondary Education Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) students sitting for the first exam of the 2021 summer session on Thursday expressed optimism about the exams this year, as well as happiness to see friends after a year and a half of remote learning.اضافة اعلان

“The first day seems promising. We are most excited to start so as to finish soon!” a scientific stream student told Jordan News.

Abiding by social distancing regulations, the capacity of examination halls was halved, allowing for only 12-15 students in each room, as Jordan News reporters observed.

Tawjihi students pose for photo at a school in Amman, before they sit for their first exam of the 2021 summer session, on June 24, 2021. (Photo: Leen Aljadid/JNews)

Regulatory guidelines stipulated that students must arrive an hour before exam time; which was largely adhered to in the three reported schools in Amman.

Adhering to health protocols, security personnel and administrators checked students’ temperatures, ensured sanitizing, and provided face masks.

The students communicated their optimism about the newly adopted multiple-choice based questions. “Marking on answer shading paper is the easiest part,” one student sitting for the exam, Islamic education, said, adding that they have practiced filling answer sheets with their school.

Ahmad Al-Jammal, a biology teacher, said that "the first day seems delightful … students are excited, and parents anticipate the best out of their sons and daughters."

A school principal, Suha Edilbi, who came to support her students, commended the health and safety measures that were taken, including the vaccination of all the teaching staff and proctors, which would establish safe opportunities for Tawjihi candidates.

The hall's principal, Mariam Dwas, told to Jordan News that “everyone abided by protocols and guidelines.” She noted that the session went smoothly and there were no cases of lost IDs.

Support mixed with worries
Tens of guardians and non-proctor teachers stood in solidarity with the twelfth grade students.

“Our students are our sons and daughters. Since today is the first, students might be under huge stress. So we truly hope our presence here will spread positive energy,” one teacher, Issraa Abul Khaliq at the school told Jordan News.

“It was an exceptional year. Both teachers and students had a tough time with online learning, but we tried our best to prepare for them,” she added.

Since 78 students scored a perfect 100-percent score in the last academic year, “question banks” were revisited to include “around 20 percent high-leveled questions,” math teacher Afnan Abu Alrabd said.

She added that teachers are not concerned about the change in the question banks, however they are worried about “confusing questions with multiple possible correct answers, which would waste time and lead to anxiety.”

For her part, a mother at the scene told Jordan News that she had mixed emotions. “Personally, as a mother, I was very stressed and anxious for my daughter and her performance in the exam,” she added.

The parent, Rula Al-Momany, said that she has worries regarding the optical mark recognition (OMR). “I hear that mistakes may occur, so I’d have preferred it to be with papers as usual,” she said.

Teachers who spoke to Jordan News on the other hand, assured that the devices are of high-resolution and accuracy.

A joyous atmosphere prevailed after the first exam. "We are very happy that the first exam was easy, this gives us confidence in what is coming next, and takes away our feelings of tension and dread," Ahmad Kamal said after he sat for his exam.

“I did not struggle with the questions since all were multiple choice questions and we were given more than enough time,” another student told Jordan News.