Students firm on staging mass protest on Feb 28 – Midterms dilemma simmers on


KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education (MoE) must release to high school students new midterm reports that take into account marks and test results as per the old grading system, says a recommendation released recently by a technical committee formed to probe reasons behind low midterm results recorded this year.
Students blame a new system introduced this year, which bases 90 percent of a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) on their test results, for the low midterm results recorded late last month. Students insisted that midterms included complex questions which exceeded the level of understanding of an average student.
Meanwhile, chairman of the High School Students Council, Rasheed Al-Hajri, said senior chemistry teachers struggled to answer questions included in the high school chemistry midterm examinations. He based his statement on the testimonies of students, who claim teachers tried to help them during the exams in empathy of their frustration at the level of complexity of the tests.
Al-Hajri reiterated plans to stage an “unprecedented mass gathering” of high school students at Iradah Square on Tuesday, February 28 “to demand the return of the old system”. It is not clear whether these plans still stand after the latest news about the anticipated ministry decision.
Former minister, Ahmad Al-Mulaifi, had formed committees to gather students’ complaints, with the option of marking test papers again. Nothing has materialized so far to help students improve their grades.
New minister, Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf, announced shortly after assuming office that the old grading system, in which midterm results make up 70 percent of a student’s GPA, will be brought back until the end of the current school year. No measures have been taken since then.
Reports yesterday quoting sources with knowledge of MoE thinking, said a technical committee Al-Hajraf formed to resolve the problem finished its report on Wednesday. It recommends scrapping midterm results and release new reports with grades calculated as per the old system. The recommendation needs to be approved by the minister before it is officially adopted.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, indicated that the report will be referred to Undersecretary, Tamadher Al-Sadairawi, on Tuesday. Then it will be sent to Minister Al-Hajraf to be adopted presumably before the end of next week.
* Al-Rai