The Tawjihi

The Tawjihi (pronounced Taw – jee – hee, with accent on the middle syllable) is the exam taken by all Palestinian students at the end of their obligatory schooling. A whole year is devoted to preparing for the Tawjihi. It takes two weeks to take all the parts of the exam. Then it takes about three weeks to wait for the results, on pins and needles.

Once the results are known, the names of the students who passed, and their grades, are published. Then, there is a night of wild fireworks (until at least 1:30 in the morning), and a weekend of more parties and fireworks.

Ma’an News Agency, the privately-owned and operated, donor-funded Palestinian news agency based in Bethlehem, has published a story about two teenage girls who attempted to commit suicide because their names were not listed among the students who had passed the Tawjihi.

The Ma’an report said that “Yousef Odeh, director of the education ministry’s Qalqiliya office, warned parents not to be hard on children who had failed the exams, adding that social pressure to succeed on the difficult tests was enough stress on young men and women. Candidates can take the tests up to five times. They are offered once each year for students, and determine eligibility for university classes. Top scoring candidates are eligible for the sought-after spots in university law, engineering and medicine … Adding pressure is the public celebration of top scoring Tawjihi students, whose families rent halls for parties and let off fireworks from roofs for the week after the results are announced“. This is posted here.

Hell, they shoot these fireworks off everywhere — on the streets, in darkened side streets, by the front gate of houses, under my kitchen window. Some of them are nearly as big and powerful (and expensive, and dangerous) as rockets … It is completely nerve-wracking.

An earlier Ma’an story reported that “Usually with a near 50 percent pass rate, the 2010 results had 85 percent achieve a pass in the Scientific Stream while 60.6 percent passed in the Literary Stream and 63 percent in the Professional Branches. President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated all the students who succeeded this year, with particular felicitations to a Nablus student who achieved the top overall score of 99.5 percent”. This can be read in full here.

A Gazan student achieved an overall score of 99.4 percent in the Tawjihi literary stream — but she had to study by the light of her mobile phone when electricity cuts caused black-outs in her neighborhood, Ma’an reported here.

The Tawjihi is one of the few remnants of unity between Gaza and the West Bank.

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