Parents concerned over decision to hold finals earlier, experts say it is in ‘students’ interest’

2. Public schools
An photo of a student wearing a mask. The Ministry of Education announced that finals this year will be held earlier to protect students from increasing COVID-19 cases. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Ministry of Education announced on November 3 that it is going to move up the date of the end-of-semester exams. This sparked attention from education experts and parents. However, while experts claim this decision will not impact students, some parents are concerned that it would harm students and fail to provide them with the quality of education they deserve. اضافة اعلان

Mohammad Al-Labadi, a father of two school-aged children, told Jordan News that “I wonder why the Ministry of Education decided to return to classroom learning, even though COVID-19 has not ended yet. It was expected, since the first day, that they would reconsider taking such a decision.” 

Labadi added that his two children were satisfied with online learning. “They even think it is much better than classroom learning. At least then their time was organized in meaningful ways,” he said.

Currently, Labadi is concerned that his children are not learning enough at schools; instead, they are spending more time trying to keep up by learning more at home. 

“They spend hours studying. When I tell them to stop and take a break, they always say that they can’t if they want to be able to solve their homework and study for their exams at one time,” he said. 

In reference to the decision to make finals earlier, Labadi shared his concern that students, including his children, will feel pressured by the lack of time they have to study. He said: “If this is the case for my children, whom I can describe as hard-working, what is the case for those students who have learning disabilities or need some help?”

Labadi emphasized that the quality of the education and not the quantity is what matters in terms of cutting days from the semester. “It does not matter how many lessons they take per semester. What really matters is that every student comes back from school feeling comfortable and confident that they understood what the teachers were explaining. It is their full right.” 

Maha Khair, another parent, said to Jordan News that “students are bearing the consequences of the decision to return to classroom learning.” 

Khair agreed with the sentiment that the decision to return to face-to-face learning was premature in light of the increasing cases. “We know that COVID-19 cases are increasing globally and that they will continue to increase more because of students going back to face-to-face learning … however, the Ministry of Education insisted on its decision to return to schools.” 

Khair raised the concern that her children have yet to complete various mandatory modules, which are essential for continuing the curriculum as a whole, as they move forward.

This decision cuts from the days from the first semester, leading some lessons to be postponed or moved, but it still complies with Article 40 of the Education Law, which stipulates that school days have to reach a minimum of 195 to 200 days in a year. 

“One of my children is in grade 10, and it is necessary that he completes all modules. His whole education curriculum depends on it; he will need the modules in the upcoming years. They can’t just skip it or disregard it,” she said.

Khaled Taqatqa, an educational expert at the Ministry of Education, told Jordan News that: “At first sight, we might think that such a decision would harm students. However, I can guarantee to everyone that students are getting the education they want and deserve.” 

Taqatqa added that the decision was well thought out and that it considered the importance of not wasting or skipping any essential modules. 

“I want all students, and their parents, to wait and not to prejudge the decision; because I can guarantee that any decision that the ministry takes is in the interest of each and every student,” he said.

Taqatqa added that any lesson that teachers could not implement due to this decision would be transferred to the second semester. 

The secretary-general of the Ministry for Educational Affairs, Nawaf Al-Ajarma, stated in remarks to Jordan News that: “This decision aims to ensure the safety and health of students, and to avoid a high number of COVID-19 cases among them.” 

The Planning Committee of the Ministry of Education, chaired by the Minister of Education, Wajih Oweis, decided on November 3 to bring forward the date of final examinations of the first semester to now begin on December 8 for all public, private, and UNRWA schools. 

Due to this decision, the second semester of the year 2021/2022 will start on February 1, 2022. 

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