The Tawjihi Fiasco

As many probably know or have read by now, many of the Tawjihi results that were released yesterday were indeed false, due to, what is being reported by the Ministry of Education, as a technical error. The issue was naturally brushed aside as just a normal error that is simply no big deal. It probably couldn’t have come at a better time to highlight what I was talking about last week regarding our educational system. It is interesting to note that despite the fact that it probably was a technical error (which affected 41,000 students in the country) it is yet another strike against the credibility of the tawjihi system, which in the past decade has faced various similar fiascos, including students getting their hands on the exams beforehand, the supposed publication of various unsolvable mathematical questions, and now this, a technical error producing the false results of tens of thousands of students. Can you imagine the faces on all those kids who were driving around all of yesterday honking their horns and hanging outside their car windows waving flags. Now who’s going to tell them that they probably failed? How can the next generation of tawjihi students ever trust their government enough to spend the day honking their horns in celebration ever again? That’s unfortunate.

But on a serious note…

Naturally, there have been calls for the resignation of the minister, which anyone with half a mind would tell you isn’t the solution to the greater problem. Heck, it’s not even much of a solution to this particular problem. The prime minister has requested an investigation, which is code for some low-level employee who burned the CDs with the grades and distributed them to the publishing websites being fired shortly.

And we won’t have to hear about anything related to tawjihi for a couple of more months.

UPDATE: Feb 8th. It seems tawjihi students have launched a protest this morning outside the Petra News Agency demanding a retake of the exams and citing their lack of trust in the results. Lack of trust and an erosion of credibility is a predictable result of this fiasco. Moreover, the government seems to be standing by the Minister of Education, claiming that a resignation is not on the table.

23 thoughts on “The Tawjihi Fiasco

  1. this is insane!!!!

    who ever wants his results, he should go to his school or directorate.
    from now on, the MOE should stick to that standard, it always been like this in my days.

    this is not a mistake of teachers mis-marking the tests, this is a case of guys who are on computers entering wrong information on the website.

  2. @Kamal
    this is totally wrong, the government is filled with employees from every origin.

    all those who want the minister to resign are clueless, what is going to change if a new minister is appointed?

    when i was tawjihi, i was pressured about my grades, BUT NOT AT THIS LEVEL. if my parents were like those on the above mahjoob pic i would tear the entire certificate apart when i get it.

  3. I am with the view that the Minister education must resign as he is the ultimate responsible person Ministry as indicated in the Constitution. If I am not wrong, about six years ago, the French Health Minister resigned over a small incident of blood contamination that occurred in a rural lab which resulted in sickening (not death) of a French citizen. The resignation of the Minister will help to absorb the anger of people and will allow the new Minister to have a serious and fresh look at the cause of the problem along with the investigation committee.

    Also, do you happen to know that the Minister is entitled to a bonus in the range of JD 5 thousands every year when he announces the results of Tawjihi? I wonder if he already received the bonus this year.

  4. I admit, my comment above could be misinterpreted.
    Lets consider it recalled. Actually Mr.Nasseem, could you please delete it? Completely (ie everything) delete both comments?

    Tero, it is not about origin, it is about whither they qualified or not! Don’t get me wrong. Regardless of their background, in many cases they are not qualified.

    I think what I was saying is mirrored by his excellency the PM, when he said a new criteria will be set for high profile positions.

    Having the minister resign is just part of the damage control.

  5. @Dave: true. although it seems a lot of the reports were of students who got 0% and 17% yet receiving a passing grade.

    @Kamal: sorry, how are you linking employment criteria with education? do you mean criteria of entering university or getting a job? if so, i think your numbers are a bit exaggerated.

    @hareega: thanks for helping me restore it bro. i’ll never write a post at 5am again.

    @mohanned: do you think an appointed minister resigning is an effective means of accountability to the masses or merely for the benefit of their appeasement. i dont see resignations bringing anything new about. this government has already gotten out of the gate stumbling through its first two months.

    @tero: i dont think abandoning an easier way of disseminating information, which was a step forward for students getting access to their results – is a proper solution. taking assurances that such technical failures do not happen again is another story.

    @taisir: do you have any source to verify that last part of your comment or was it mere speculation on your part? (p.s. welcome!)

  6. 1- People make mistakes so lets take it easy.
    2- All the ministry need to do is make a committee (a trust-worthy one) and hold a transparent investigation and send the person responsible (and I think it is a low level mistake) to the court.
    3- People should learn to take it easy with this exam. I know it is the year that can decide your future, but it is not like you will be destined to a life of poverty and lack of education if you failed to score whatever result you need. What if you lost a year of your life in this? I mean come to think about it.. it is only an exam. And people need to learn that.
    4- The resignation of the minister will do us nothing unless the new man will come and actually make a transparent change. Highly doubtful in Jordan.

  7. Dear Nas,
    Will try to dig out some published reference. As a matter of fact, I read it in one of the Jordanian columns few years ago when the fiasco of the Tawjihi exams were leaked (sold) to private schools five years or so ago. I am currently in trip to the US and do not have Arabic keyboard to try to search the source. Will try upon return in few weeks.

  8. Resignation sets some sort of standard. The issue is bigger than this fiasco, it is about being held accountable. The fact that people are demanding resignation is a good thing, it means that they are more involved-at least emotionally. What they need is organization to turn their voices into action. Me think the tipping point is getting closer 🙂

  9. Dear Nas,
    I am sorry for making this link public to respond to your enquiry yesterday on the bonuses to the officials at the Ministry of Education. Be sure my friend it is not speculation. Look at this timely headline at Jrasanews http://www.gerasanews.com/web/?c=117&a=23172.
    \
    Take care Taisir

  10. How is it that Tawjihi has been around for god knows how many years and this is the only year they make such a BIG mistake? In my opinion, it’s most likely a deliberate act by people who are trying to damage the ministry along with its minister… An investigation is undergoing as I heard.

    I hope they determine the cause of this as if it was due to inappropriate human tech resources(Lack of quantity or expertise in technical matters), this would be the minister’s fault. He is the one who should ensure that his technical department is performing at high standards while consisting of very capable engineers and supervisors. If an investigation concludes otherwise, then minister, I’m sorry you should pay more attention.

    Again, I still think this is was a sabotage act probably because if I could list :

    1) The problems were numerous and very different : Ranging from different numbers(Like 96 becoming 69) to problems defining the (PASS/FAIL) boundaries for every subject.

    2) Tawjihi has been around since forever! They’ve been doing the exact same technical process for a long time now. Not even the subjects are changed. They always do the same thing then give out CDs to websites so results could be published. It became ROUTINE for them. Why would it go wrong only THIS TIME?

    3) No one knows the cause of this. No reports came out about what had happened which really is suspicious to me and everybody else!

  11. “the government seems to be standing by the Minister of Education, claiming that a resignation is not on the table.”

    this is why i mocked the earlier stories about this is a new age and there will be a code of honor and there will be accountability and what not ..

  12. this is a normal result of the minister dissmissing all the experienced staff of the MOE to give a chance to new blood as they said back then,,, surely, new blood is more energetic probably better educated but it lacks experience, the result is obvious not only on this occasion but on earlier ones as well,,,, they could have benefited some of the old (experience) in managing the ministry in such hard times and in training the ”new blood”

  13. to YANAL
    i find your analysis very logic but im afraid you missed an essencial point ,,, ‘those’ for whom this practice had been a routine were sent home on late and early retirement,,, at least most of them during the restructuring of the ministry few months earlier,,, they were replaced by relatively new hires or former teachers who met some criteria anyway one hears from workers at the ministry that they have forgotten to bridge gap of expertise b/w older and newer hires

  14. after tawjihi scandal, ministry of agriculture scandal, and afghanistan media farce, at least the “reform is on its way” rubbish we heard in the beginning with this govt is now buried for good…in fact Dahabi’s era was better than this…

    but why Nas you say no resignation should be asked for? hell am sure if a systematic failure affecting 100,000+ GCSE students happened in england there would be huge pressure for a ministerial resignation, if anything for not making sure the right mechanisms are in place to ensure this does NOT happen…

  15. saying its not the minister’s fault therefore he should not resign does not click with me .. take for example a manufacturing company when a big production mistake happens the ceo might apologize or be removed by the board even though technically he had nothing to do with it

  16. I was in one headquarters in the south of Amman..one employee told me :

    we have been instructed not to tell any infromation about tawjihi, one day before that the minister told us go to headquarters and you will find correct hard copies of the results, we found nothing but a note telling us there is no results.

    mistake happen but lying is not good for ministers

  17. My son saw three different results online and does not know which will be finallly announced, and now he is awaiting the new results with great dread. He would like to go through the very long process of having his answer papers re-checked by the MoE Examination Department. But will it be worth it? We are lost. To say we have lost faith in the tawjihi examination process is the truth.

  18. Don’t tell me that I didn’t post earlier that this was probably a sabotage operation 😀

    So have a look at this : http://www.sarayanews.com/home.php?mode=more&newsid=25606&catID=39

    @Omar What you said is true. Old employees have had something to do with it… Though I think ruining something as vital as an exam’s reputation and integrity just for personal gains is pretty stupid!

    We should also consider that maybe the government or even the King was browsing the Black Iris and figured out that the best way to save his ministry’s ass from this scandal is to use one of the theories posted in here… Everything happens with this government, trust me on this one! lol

  19. Amal@To say we have lost faith in the tawjihi examination process is the truth.

    We never ever had faith in the Tawjihi examination and so none of my four children sat that exam. Ditto the Jordanian driving licence. They were not allowed to take the wheel of a car until they had passed a test out of Jordan. You can ague correctly that we were privileged in that we had the option, but we had it and we took it. On the other hand, medical standards were excellent in Jordan when they were young, and we were perfectly confident that their tonsillectomies etc. would be dealt with competently, which they were. So it is not a case of ” kulshi feranji birinji)!

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