New educational system combats extracurricular books’ dilemma

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Thu, 27 Dec 2018 - 12:16 GMT

Minister of Education and Technical Training Tarek Shawki – Still image Youtube/MBC Masr

Minister of Education and Technical Training Tarek Shawki – Still image Youtube/MBC Masr

CAIRO – 27 December 2018: For years, Egyptian students have mainly relied on the extracurricular books published by private publishing houses, a phenomenon seen by officials as one of the obstacles hindering the quality of education in Egypt; hence, steps have been taken to combat it.

The Ministry of Education has prevented printing the extracurricular books; only certain entities have been allowed to publish them with the same content and form of the official school books.

In previous years, many students thought that the textbooks give unnecessary or confusing information, which will not help to pass the exam.

"In the textbook at the end of each lesson there are explanations for only ten difficult words, but for the exam we are required to answer questions on terms not mentioned in the book. If I rely solely on this book, I will not pass," a student told Ahram Online about the textbook of the Arabic language.

On the other hand, the new system of education aims to build the intellectual skills of students through understanding rather than memorizing; therefore, the examination system has changed, and students can depend on several learning methods such as the Knowledge Bank and the other sources provided by the ministry.

“We are trying to remind people that our goal is education and not grades that push them to pay a fortune for private tutoring. Students should enjoy the educational process that we are trying to create through the new system. We changed the examination system to give value for understanding rather than memorization. Open book exams have been introduced as well,” Ministry of Education Tarek Shawky told Egypt Today.

“The real problem is that students have not realized that yet. They have not realized that they do not need to memorize and achieve certain grades. We are trying to promote, among students and parents, the culture of capacity building,” he added.

In this regard, the Ministry of Education will totally prevent publishing the extracurricular books afterpublishing the new official school books, in which unnecessary or confusing information has been deleted under the new system.

The Ministry of Education stressed that some unlicensed entities print extracurricular books to gain profits, destroying the educational system.

Under the new educational system, the Curricula Developing Center has set a general framework that willproduce a different student after 16 years of pre-university education.
Senior students at high schools will answer four tests throughout the academic year using the tablet. Answers will be sent to different teachers without revealing the students' identities and grading will be done online.

That will be applied this academic year for Grade 10 having 600,000 students who study 10 subjects. So we have 24 million tests that will take place online this year. And next year, the system will be introduced in other grades increasing the number to 50 or 75 million tests. The tablet is just the means and not the basis of the process.

The minister's consultant for examination and evaluation Dina al-Boarei told Egypt Today,"I want to point out that online tests willindicate how long it takes students to answer. Also, results willbe released immediately or shortly after they finish depending on the type of questions, whether they are MCQs or short essay."

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