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Victims of education system.

Byline: Najah Al-Zahar | Al-Madinah

I wish decision makers at the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education would open their hearts and ears to listen to the predicaments parents experience and the agony that students feel on account of their dry decisions.

Every year I speak about this open wound, which is still bleeding with no healing in sight.

So, I could not believe it when I learned that the final higher secondary school examination will have little weight when students seek to enroll in university, as the admission criteria is 30 percent based on its results and 70 percent on aptitude tests and credit accumulations.

I thought this was just a rumor. No one could believe that the efforts of students, their sleepless nights and their two to three years of dedication will only make up 30 percent of their eligibility for university enrollment. I thought I was imagining until I was proved wrong.

We were happy to hear that the Ministry of Education was keen to abolish the terror of higher secondary school examinations, but it is obvious that we were wrong. The ministry handed over the banner to the Ministry of Higher Education, which dumped all of its grievances on the poor students who, having sat secondary school exams, aptitude tests, credit accumulations and preparatory year exams, are then left unsure whether or not they can get into university.

If we cannot innovate the education system in a way that could relieve or end the agony of students and upgrade their levels, then we better go back to our old systems, which have graduated ministers, doctors, engineers, teachers and journalists who are currently spearheading the country's development. We should either opt for the best system or continue going by the old until a better one is found.

This education system, which distinguishes between the general and the higher education, has caused a rift between the two and has depleted government resources. Schools, principals, teachers and administrators are exhausted by complicated internal regulations that in the end only account for 30 percent of a student's chance of getting into university.

We are in a dilemma that we will only realize when our streets become replete with unemployed youths and our mental hospitals become full of young men and women under stress. It is not a far cry that some of these students may end up in jails while those responsible reside in ivory towers enjoying their life.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Aug 3, 2008
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