Education Ministry under fire over zero scores
Mariam Zaki - ScreenShot

CAIRO: Egypt’s Ministry of Education is under fire after it was discovered that around 40 students of Thanawyia Amma  (secondary education or high schools) received zeros in all final exams that enable them to enter universities.

“I was studying 15 hours daily, how I can get zeros in all subjects?” said Mariam Zaki, one of the students received a zero, in a talk show on ON. T.V. Sunday.

The Minya-born student filed a suit against the ministry over her scores Aug. 2, saying her answer sheets were “forged” and the original ones could be given to another student. However, her case was rejected

“I call on President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to intervene to solve my sister’s problem,” Mariam’s brother, Bishoy, said in an phone interview with The Cairo Post Sunday, noting that they will appeal her results.

“Mariam is always very smart and clever student; she was the student who got the highest scores in the first and second grades in the secondary school, “Bishoy added.

How the zero story beings

“When the results of the Thnawayia Amma were published on the internet, we found that she got zeros in all subjects[…] she and our brother Mina went to her school (Khulafaa Secondary School for girls) in Minya to check the results, they found the handwriting does not match hers,” Bishoy added.

“We decided to file a complaint Aug. 2 and the prosecutor referred the case to calligraphy experts to make a comparison between Mariam’s handwriting and one provided in the answer sheets.

Bishoy added that his sister did sit for her 2014 final exams due to her father’s death, but confirmed that she attended the 2015 exams.

“My sister’s is left-handed and writes in print script, while the papers were written in cursive,” he added, noting that she was summoned five times by the prosecution to examine her handwriting.

Mariam’s legal struggle

On Wednesday, al-Bawaba news reported that Mariam’s answer sheets had been manipulated according to sources inside the prosecution, which later denied such reports.

However, spokesperson of Medical Forensic Authorities Hesham Abdel Hamid said Saturday that the calligraphy experts’ report revealed that the handwriting of the answer sheets matches Mariam’s who fainted when she heard the results of the report.

Bishoy said that they will appeal against the report and ask for foreign experts to examine his sister’s handwriting.

During the inauguration of two schools in Minya several days ago, the Minister said he would apologize to Mariam if the investigations proved manipulation and sue her in case here claim was not true, Bishoy said.

Some “40 students got zeros in Thanawyia Amma; 33 of them withdrew their complaints and the Ministry is investigating seven cases, including Mariam’s,” the Minister was quoted by Youm7.

Another student appeals the zero score

“My sister’s case is no different from Mariam’s,” said Manar, the sister of student who also received a grade of zero in all seven subjects, told The Cairo Post Saturday.

Marwa Mohamed Essa, from Delta’s Kafr al-Sheikh, took her all tests and suffered a shock when the results were announced.

“We paid fees for checking and previewing the answer sheets, Marwa found the handwriting does not   match hers,” Manar said, continuing that they filed a complaint before the State Council in Kafr al-Sheikh.

The first trial of the case on Aug. 26 and it was adjourned to Oct. 7 in order to examine the answer sheets and assign calligraphy experts.

“Corrupted” educational system

“Mariam’s zeros should be given only to the Ministry of Education as it spotlights the corruption that occurs in the examination correction committees,” chairperson of Egyptian Teachers Union Abdel Nasser Ismail told The Cairo Post Monday.

He added that more than 190 heads of examination correction committees were referred to disciplinary councils in 2006 over facilitating and giving privileges to state officials’ children during the exams, noting that none of them were punished.

He denounced the educational process which depends only on the answer sheets to evaluate the students regardless of any other educational systems.

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