Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Another brick in the wall : The tablet system and high school students saga “Updated”

Earlier on Monday , Egypt’s tens of Egyptian students in First Secondary stage “High school sophomores” protested against the ministry of education and its insistence on using the tablet-system in final exams in several governorates.

It is another episode in the big sage of the "Tablet system and high school" this school year !!

Since the start of the final exams of the First secondary stage “ 10th grade” , many students reported the tablet-system did not work due to connection problems and system failure.

The new tablet system in exams works as follows : The test sent from the ministry of educations to students’ tablets, and will be answered and marked electronically.

This photo from Youm 7 already shows the students using the tablet in the exams and honestly I do not
how this way can prevent cheating in Giza !! "Youm7" 

It is currently being generalized for “10th grade” students across the country. We are speaking about nearly 500,000 students.

As we are in the final exams phase 10th grade students in different governorates and in different reported its failure.
Group of angry students protested on Monday in Cairo, Giza, Gharbia , Ismailia , Suez, Alexandria, Luxor and New Valley governorates against the failure of that tablet system and current minister of education Tarek Shawky.

Before Iftar in Cairo , photos and videos went viral online on showing the protests by the angry teenagers and how the police forces dispersed some of these protests with no consideration that they are dealing with 13 and 14 years old teenagers who did not chant against the president but rather the minister of education calling for his dismissal.

In Cairo at the ministry of education HQ

In Tanta city , Gharbia governorate

Another video from Tanta city.

From Ismailia
In Luxor

Some of the students were arrested as well as you can see in those videos.

According to news reports , those students have been released shortly by the order of the minister of interior Mahmoud Tawfik.
According to Egypt Today website ,  the minister ordered an investigation in to the treatment of the security forces with the students.

On Wednesday ,a source in the Ministry of interior to State-news-agency MENA said that those photos showing brutal force used with the students saying were old photos from year 2015 and that the men appeared in those photos were not wearing official police uniform.

Yes , there was a mix between photos from year 2015 when high school students protested against the leak of exams online and this week’s protests but there are videos taken on this week showing the protests and security forces and the way they dispersed them.

Once again I see those photos and videos and I remember Pink Floyd’s “Another brick in the wall”.

Tablet system’s woes

This tablet examination system is part of a new educational digital system , minister Tarek Shawky of education totally supports and adopts.

It aims to eliminate the testing based on memorization.
Testing or learning based on memorization was one of the main curse of the Egyptian education system.

When Dr. Tarek Shawky assumed the position of minister of education , many friends who knew him from the American University  in Cairo had great hopes on how he would help in fixing Egypt’s problems in the education system.

But since the start of the academic year and the high school students received the tablets we began to see a saga especially when the ministry began to try the tablets in exams from couple of months ago and the system began to show error messages.

It freaked the students and their parents. They had to speak up and
whenever anyone starts to criticize the man , he or she was shut up by those who say “Give the man a chance”.

Parents and students gave him a chance but in return Tarek Shawky attacks the parents saying that they do not have any reason to worry !!

No , they do have to worry because it is the future of their children especially in the Secondary  !!
It is right as parents and as tax payers too.

Also I believe that Dr. Shawky got very good chance that not many ministers of education had before.
Already Egypt received a USD 500 million loan from the World Bank  for teacher training and upgrading the educational system in April 2018. 

Of course , I can't ignore this war of words between him and "Mothers to upgrade education in Egypt" WhatsApp group in the past two years saying that they are as dangerous as Ultras groups  !! 

Logic says that before generalizing that system across the country , you need to try it for several years in several schools across the country especially Egypt has got a very slow internet speed compared to other countries in the world.

I can’t imagine schools in rural villages like in Upper Egypt that suffer from electricity outage from time to time and poor internet coverage as well as mobile phone coverage will have proper internet connection or internat connection as the ministry of education thinks.

The infrastructure of Public schools in Egypt need true upgrade to become suitable environment for learning in the first place.

Regarding the examination system , I do not know why there is no Plan B system to be applied once the tablet system is down or failed , the school goes back to the paper-examination system.
Everybody wins in that way.

I am an education expert but this is what I think.
Needless to say ,one of the ways to liberate the students’ minds from memorization is to allow freedom of thought and expression.

1 comment:

  1. I realize the infrastructure needs to be upgraded.
    On the other hand there are many,many people and companies don't want the new system to work, because they were enriched by the old system .Saboteurs are out there (mafia).
    That's my humble opinion . I have noticed the lack of education and the terrible practices in my own family members and friends.


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