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“These questions were definitely not from the curriculum we studied,” a tearful Gomaa said.
The government admits problems but says it will take time. There are many problems in education and we are putting in place plans to gradually resolve them.
But we cannot solve these problems overnight,” Education Minister Ahmed Zaki Badr told a parliament committee, the official news agency reported.
Frustrated parents scrimp and save to pay for private tutorials.
Teachers, who usually earn no more than 1,600 Egyptian pounds ($281) a month, often rely on that extra income.
High school teaching, based mostly on rote, does not give students practical skills, leaving them unprepared for college and hindering their transition to the workplace.
If the Arab world’s most populous country is to extend a run of economic growth, now edging back to 6 percent a year, the roughly 300,000 university graduates churned out annually must be better prepared.“National exams in Egypt are based on specific lessons taken from textbooks in the last two years of high school.SATs, however, test the student’s ability to draw inferences and think critically,” Laila Iskandar, an education consultant, said.CAIRO (Reuters) - Sawsan Gomaa, 18, thought memorizing vocabulary and grammar from the ministry textbook would be enough to ace Egypt’s yearly national language exam for high school graduates, the main gateway to university. But this year’s exam took her by surprise, requiring tough translations and idiomatic phrases not taught in class.She was caught out by what experts say are disjointed education reforms that have changed exams but not teaching methods.Parents and teachers say the curriculum covers maths, science and other core subjects but these are based on facts to learn not problems to solve.Memorization has long been the key to final school exams that determine what a student can study at university.Overcrowded classrooms, poor attendance and a lack of good libraries or office space for teachers are problems that run through the system from the earliest years to final classes.Facilities like computers and science labs are often rundown if they exist at all in state schools.Nawal Saadawi, a government critic who has drawn threats from Islamists for her views in the past, says religious dogma had permeated some schools in Egypt, where she said the beliefs of conservative-minded teachers can seep into the curriculum.Religion has a modest place in the school timetable.