Education Minister Omar Razzaz and Higher Education Minister Adel Tweisi held a joint press conference on Sunday about developing the General Secondary Education Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) and its future plans, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
The conference discussed mechanisms of total marks accreditation, now adding up to 1,400, for secondary students gaining admission into universities for the current academic year.
Razzaz justified the reasons for improving the examination and the educational process in general, which is carried out within a framework of partnership between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the two education committees in the Senate and Lower House, the Jordan Teachers Association, professors and experts.
Razzaz also noted how developing the nation's educational sector impacts Jordan's economy. Paying for private classes and achieving Tawjihi for studying abroad are all contributing to Jordan's workforce, which is considered "a national wealth".
Additionally, Razzaz stressed the importance of the education in the development process, as he considers the current exam focuses too much on theoretical subjects rather than critical-thinking, according to studies and experts in this field.
He also said that the ministry continues holding this exam as the base for graduating school since Jordan's universities fail to have "a clear and comprehensive" entrance exam. Meanwhile, the ministry will maintain its school completion prerequisite for taking Tawjihi.
Razzaz said that as from the current academic year, a grading system out of 1,400 for nine subjects will be adopted, in addition to a set of evaluation criteria to substitute current grading system.
He also said that there was a consensus among the General Examination Board and the Tawjihi development committee on approving a minimum passing grade of 40 per cent for each subject, whereas from the current academic year, the "fail" label will be scrapped in its traditional definition, as the student will not be asked to retake the subjects that he or she already achieved the passing requirements in.
The minister also highlighted the ministry's decision to allow students to sit for Tawjihi for unlimited times.
As for Tawjihi in the 2018/2019 academic year, the minister said that seven subjects will be considered as a minimum limit for the student to apply for the exam rather than nine, where these subjects will have a total of 1,400 marks with 200 marks per subject, and the exam will be held in one session at the end of the year.
The education minister said that the student may be able to choose another subject to increase his or her university preferences, while the ministry will take into account any distinction of the student in the Tawjihi certificate, whether it is athletic or in any other kind of national or international competition.
For his part, Tweisi said that the first stage of the reform process is an important factor in achieving the strategic goal of the process as both in the scientific and literary streams, the largest portion of marks will be awarded to the subjects related to the stream.
Tweisi also said that the criteria for university admissions have stipulated that a student must score a minimum of 50 per cent in each subject.
It also stated that, according to the minister, scoring minimum limits in official universities by 85 per cent in medicine and dentistry with a total of 1,190 out of 1,400 marks, and 80 per cent for engineering, pharmacy, doctor of pharmacy and veterinary medicine, with a total of 1,120 out of 1,400.
The qualifications also included a minimum limit by 70 per cent for nursing, related medical sciences, rehabilitation sciences and Sharia (Islamic law) with a total of 980 out of 1,400 marks, while a minimum of 65 per cent is required for other specialities with a total of 910 out of 1,400 marks.
For admissions in private universities, Tweisi said that the minimum limit is 80 per cent for engineering and pharmacy with a total of 1,120 out of 1,400, and 70 per cent for nursing, related medical sciences, rehabilitation sciences and Sharia with a total of 980 out of 1,400, and 65 per cent for law and agriculture, with a total of 910 out of 1,400, in addition to 60 per cent as a minimum limit for the rest of the specialities, with a total of 840 out of 1,400.
Tweisi noted that for students to be accepted in community colleges, two criteria are required: A score of 40 per cent in each subject, and a minimum total of 700 out of 1,400.
He noted that the Tawjihi reform process has begun three years ago, through monitoring exam, exam halls, and the launch of a national strategy for human resources development.