The new minimum scores required to study various university majors were at the centre of academic circles' discussions upon their release on Monday.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research released a statement listing the minimum scores and percentages required for both public and private universities in the 2019-2020 academic year.
In public universities, an 85 per cent average, or a total of 1190 out of 1400 marks, is required for general medicine and dentistry.
Engineering, architecture, veterinary medicine and pharmacy require 80 per cent, or 1120 out of 1400 marks.
Amal Sawaeed, a former teacher who now works at the ministry, said that the percentages are “more or less the same as previous years, although compared with the relative ease of this year’s exams... the percentages are in favour of the students”.
She added: “There was one year where, in the scientific stream, a student who got 99 per cent was the 55th nationally.
That meant that there were 55 others who got higher than 99 per cent. Now, however, the tests are easier but the scores are lower.”
Suzan Abedrabboh, a department head at the ministry, said that 85 per cent for medicine and dentistry is “lean” and “gives the students a great chance” to succeed.
The new minimum required score for Sharia (Islamic studies), was 75 per cent. Some were pleased with the average, which, this year, is the highest it has ever been.
“This is great. This means that the major is taken seriously by the ministry and will now be taken seriously by the students as well,” said Abeer Atrash, a teacher who graduated and now teaches Sharia.
She added: “For years, the major’s requirement has been 50 per cent. In fact, some years, it was available to anyone who applied. That takes away from its seriousness as an actual course of study compared with other majors.”
Mohammed Khalidi, also a Sharia teacher, said that he is “glad that the major is no longer taken as the last option everyone puts on their application in case all else fails.”
“There will now only be students who are passionate about the major and are truly dedicated to it.”
However, some said they wanted it changed back to its previous state.
“I believe that the percentage should either be reduced or it should be allowed that the major be taught in community colleges again,” Ola Damra said on Twitter. “The major has never been for an elite circle. It should be open to all.”
All other majors in public universities require a 65 per cent minimum.
As for private universities, the percentages for Sharia, engineering and architecture are the same, but other majors require a 60 per cent minimum score instead of 65 per cent.
The minimum percentage for medicine and dentistry was not mentioned for private universities.