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Wednesday, 9 December 2020

The rundown on yesterday’s cabinet meeting

A recent revamp of the standardized Thanaweya Amma exam received a nod from cabinet in its weekly meeting yesterday. The amendments to the 1981 Education Act (pdf) allow the tests to be electronically administered, give students the chance to sit for the same exams several times each year and pick their highest grade, and administer different versions of an exam as opposed to a single standardized sheet (akin to the SATs). They also stipulate new rules on progression and failure, allowing resits for up to two subjects the following year. The amended system is expected to be implemented on first-year Thanaweya Amma students as of the 2021-2022 academic year, according to Education Minister Tarek Shawki. The Education Ministry said last week that next year’s exams will all be held online. The new structure is designed to emphasize comprehension over rote memorization.

Also approved by cabinet in its meeting:

  • An agreement between Egypt and the UK to open talks to liberalize trade and the cross-border movement of capital; and
  • A contract between the Finance Ministry and state-owned fintech company E-Finance to streamline and automate systems used by the ministry’s tax appeals committees;
  • A MoU between the Foreign Ministry and the UN World Food Programme to improve food security in Africa;
  • A grant of up to USD 750k from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to reduce pollution.

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