By: Saher Kawas
On Sunday, the results of the Tawjihi exams, also known as General Secondary Education Certificate Examination, were announced across the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. In the Latin Patriarchate Schools, 94.5% of students passed their exams, while a 100% success rate was achieved at the Latin Patriarchate school of the Holy Family in Gaza.
This is one of the most crucial stages in the life and future of any Palestinian student. The Tawjihi exams results go hand in hand with the decisions that students have to take regarding their education. The averages of these exams will determine whether or not students will gain entry to universities, in addition to the field of studies they are eligible to apply for. Students who fail one to three exams are given an opportunity to retake them. In case of passing, he or she will have to apply for universities in the following year.
This year, 293 out of 310 Latin Patriarchate schools' students have passed their exams, corresponding to a success rate of 94.5%, where 65.5% of the students obtained an average of 80 or more in the scientific and humanities streams. In the Gaza Strip, the Holy Family school had a success rate of 100% with the highest average being 97.7.
In a letter sent to students, teachers and administrative staff, Fr Iyad Twal, Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine and Israel, conveyed his utmost appreciation and pride in the achievement of the students and schools. He said: "achieving such goals is always a source of joy and a reminder of our responsibility towards improving and developing."
In the academic year 2017/2018, 72,604 students had sat for the exams in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. According to the Ministry of Education, 48,420 students have passed them; a 66% success rate, with the highest averages for the scientific and humanities streams being 99.7 and 99.4 respectively.
Among the exam takers this year were 19 elderly people; the eldest being 75-year-old Khadija Abu Arqub, a Palestinian woman who was detained by Israeli forces on multiple occasions in the 70s and 80s of the last century. Different charges were attributed to her, including being a part of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Cancer patients also benefited from a system of schooling in hospitals to prepare them for the exams, which was put in place by the Ministry of Education.
On the other hand, 900 Palestinian school pupils in Israeli prisons have registered and are to sit for the Tawjihi exams in a month's time. Among them is 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, who at the moment is serving an eight-month prison sentence for having slapped a soldier in December 2017. The incident took place when two heavily armed Israeli soldiers walked onto her family's property in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh. An hour earlier to the incident, Ahed had learned that the Israeli army had shot her cousin Mohammad Tamimi in the head.