Egypt’s Education Minister Tarek Shawki said that a new bifurcated education system will be applied for high school students as of the next academic year, a step that aims to improve the pre-university stage of education.
The new system reverses the three-branch system previously used in the three years of high school by merging natural sciences and mathematics under one section named the “science division.”
The new system aims to allow science students to acquire "sufficient" scientific and mathematical knowledge before applying for their preferred university majors, noted Shawki, adding that this step is meant to enhance students' levels of understanding up to international standards.
For decades, students of the third grade of the high school stage, known locally as Thanaweya Amma, have been divided into three branches – literary, natural sciences, and mathematics.
The minister added that the education ministry is expected to amend the curricula for some subjects to make them compatible with the new system and avoid burdening students.
Egypt has recently modified its the decades-old Thanaweya Amma system in several ways, most notably the examination styles, in a step aimed at gauging students’ critical thinking skills and ending the culture of memorising for exams.
The new system was implemented for the first time in the 2020/21 academic year, with non-standardised models provided for all divisions.
The passing rate, as a result, dropped significantly, ending the phenomenon of students obtaining full marks in their senior year of high school.
The average grade in the Thanaweya Amma exams in the recently concluded 2020/2021 academic year — which was attended by roughly 650,000 students — was 74 percent, a significant decrease from the 81.5 percent of the previous year.
The new strategy lowered the minimum grades required for admission to prestigious public faculties for the first time in years.