AMMAN — Jordan’s young women made a strong showing in the General Secondary Education Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) summer session, with girls dominating the lists of top 10 students in the scientific, literary and IT streams, according to education ministry figures.
After the scores were released on Friday night, social media websites lit up with debates over why girls got more “impressive” scores than their male peers. Some said it was because girls are usually obligated to stay at home and therefore study more, but one sociologist said the reasons behind girls’ high achievement “go much deeper”.
“The societal perspective on women’s role has changed dramatically. Jordanian women are now seen as partners and no longer dependents,” sociologist Hussein Khozai told The Jordan Times.
Noting that 37 per cent of Jordanian mothers hold bachelor’s degrees, he said that this factor also drives girls to excel in academics on an equal footing with their mothers.
“Most Jordanian families now believe in equality in education between men and women and this has paved the way for female students to recognise their potential,” noted Khozai, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Jordan.
In a press conference on Friday, Education Minister Fayez Saudi said 50 per cent of students who sat for the Tawjihi summer session passed: an improvement from 43.9 per cent in the winter session.
Of the 138,914 students who had registered for the session, 135,104 sat for the tests, Fayez noted, adding that pass rates stood at 65.9 per cent in the scientific stream, 35.6 per cent in the literary stream, 61.6 per cent in IT, 20.3 per cent in Sharia and 55.2 per cent in health education.
Fayez highlighted that 97,750 regular students sat for the exam, including 84,938 in the academic streams and the rest in the vocational streams.
“A total of 46,964 regular students in the academic streams, or 55.3 per cent, have passed the exam,” the minister said.
Educational expert Owayed Sqour expressed concern, however, that the initial indicators of the exam’s results pointed to grade inflation, meaning that students’ scores were unexpectedly high and did not reflect their actual level of capability.
“It is obvious that the scores do not reflect the real level of the students. Exams should be able to differentiate between the students’ abilities,” he told The Jordan Times, noting that grade inflation can involve both placing questions on tests that are too easy or exercising “flexibility” in correcting them.
The Unified Admissions Committee will start receiving applications from students who are now eligible to enrol in universities this week.