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Teachers, Students Disagree About Council of Higher Education Decision


By Diana Skaf

· Citizen Journalism

Citizen Journalism Summer 2018 Student Stories

The following article was reported by a student in Paper Airplanes' online Citizen Journalism class in the summer of 2018. Subject matter and quotes do not represent or reflect Paper Airplanes' views as an organization.

The views of Syrian universities’ teachers and students diverge after the decision the higher education minister issued concerning exam schedules.

In a meeting on July 7, the Council of Higher Education, under the leadership of the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Atef Nadaf, decided to return to the modified permanent semester system in Syrian universities and institutes for the academic year 2018/2019.

“The system is characterized by shortening the duration of examinations, increasing the length of teaching, and reducing the burden of examination on the universities which is reflected positively at the level of higher education,” Dr. Nadaf said on TV.

After the war in Syria, President Bashar Al-Assad announced a temporary complementary test for those who didn’t have the chance to submit their exams because of the war. After the first year of announcing this decision, students were waiting after the end of every second term for a new third complementary test.

The official number for exams that students are allowed to submit every term for their academic year was two, allowing them to submit every subject they failed in both terms. Now the new decision includes three semesters, as it allows students to submit the exams that are related to each term by itself, giving the opportunity to submit only eight failed exams in the third complementary term.

Lilian Isperdon from the architecture faculty said, “I found this decision is unfair for teachers and instructors because it is really tiring to mark all these papers once again after we have done this for the second term, and it’s really exhausting to mark the first and the second term exam papers as there are a lot of students that didn’t even admit their exams in the first or the second term. This is a really exhausting extra job for all professors and instructors in Tishreen University.”

Batol Sino, a law student, said, “We were waiting for a settle decision from our education ministry to decide because we want to ‏have a stable system and this decision will encourage students to study more as the complementary test is limited by only eight field subjects.”

Yara Zeno from the medicine faculty said, “I wish this decision wasn’t being decided and I think the complementary test is not that necessary if they made students submit any field subject in every term of their academic year. Also, the complementary test is in the middle of the summer and that’s irrational to spend our summer among exams. And for shortening the period of the day for every term is not fair because it is really short so we don’t have the time after every subject to study.”

The system cannot satisfy everyone at the same time. In making and upholding this decision, higher education officials must consider all arguments as instructors and students take opposing sides.

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