Tawjihi-related pressures take toll on student athletes

3 Tawjihi
(Photo: Jordan News)

AMMAN — The Tawjihi exam, or the general secondary education certificate examination, was introduced in Jordanian schools in 1961. Since then, Tawjihi results have become riddled with social stigma, especially for student athletes.اضافة اعلان
Globally, schools offer student athletes privileges that help hone and perfect their athletic skills — from access to fields, courts, and gyms to flexible study hours and extra credit. However, the Jordanian educational system, marred by Tawjihi-related pressures, still treats sports as a hobby, as opposed to a possible profession.

Commenting on the effect of Tawjihi on his team, Amman’s women football coach Khaled Nimer said, “Many players stop showing up to training every year due to Tawjihi exam pressures. This happens during a critical stage in an athlete’s career. Many talented players have to go through a rough physical rehabilitation period to catch up with the rest of the squad.”

Obada Al-Rizu, center back for Al-Faisaly youth team, said in interview with Jordan News that during Tawjihi, “The club and the school didn’t care about our situation as players who play and study at the same time.” He added that he lives two hours away from his training center, and “with public transportation, attending training would take a whole day,” leaving him with no time to study.

At one point, Rizu attempted to break his contract with Al-Faisaly to join Jordan’s Maan Club, whose training center is closer to his home.

“But my club refused to let me go and told me that they’ll wait for me to join after Tawjihi,” he said. “On the bright side, I passed my Tawjihi exams and not having all this effort go to waste is a great feeling. Now, I am really excited to start a new chapter in university and put all of this behind.”

In an interview with Jordan News, Al-Faisaly youth player Nour Al-Deen Mohammad said that prior to placing his athletic career on hold, he barely sat on the bench during games.

"But now, after a whole year without training, I gained 10kg, and I can see the skill gap between me and the players that didn’t stop training,” he said. “I might be losing my spot in the team.”

Regarding opportunities for athlete students in Jordanian schools, Abdalsalam Al-Shunaq, activities manager in the Ministry of Education, told Jordan News that “the ministry has been providing university scholarships for students who take part in several sports.”

Creating a high school system that considers the challenges students athletes face is in “formal frameworks to be studied for later years,” said Shunaq. “But no actual actions are taken in that direction yet.”

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