Voices of Children

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Bussing teachers made a difference in the lives of thousand teachers

© UNICEF-oPt/2006/UNICEF

By Ibtisam Abu Shammala

GAZA, 24 June 2006 - Mona Buhaisi is one of thousand teachers who have been bussed from various areas in the Gaza Strip to Gaza City to participate in correcting the Tawjihi exam.   The Tawjihi exam is a school matriculation exam which is a prerequisite for graduation and university entrance, thus affecting the future of almost 80,000 students.

Mona is an English Language teacher in Sukainah Secondary School for Girls in Deir Al- Balah in the Middle area which is 25 kilometers south of the Gaza Strip.  She has three children, 2 boys and a 2-year old girl.  

Mona has been taking part in marking Tawjihi exams for the past 9 years.  During these years, she and her colleagues, used to pick a cab from Deir Al Balah to Gaza City to correct the exam without any problems.  This year is different, given the fact that she has not been paid for the past few months; Mona cannot hire a cab anymore.

"This year is different.  I was afraid that I couldn't come regularly to the central hall to correct the exam" said Mona.   She and her husband who also works in a governmental hospital,  have not been paid for the past three months.

UNICEF strongly believes that every 12th grade student has the right to sit for the Tawjihi exam.   Given the fact that for the past three months, Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE) staff has not received their salaries, UNICEF is providing needed transport to help the ministry in their smooth operation and management of the Tawjihi exam.   “Bussing teachers is an excellent step. It makes teachers feel more comfortable and at ease” said Mona.

Everyday at 6:15 a.m., Mona and her colleagues gather at the Deir Al-Balah taxi station. They receive the instructions from the MOEHE and the local radios' announcements about the trips.  "It is my first day to come to Gaza. Fortunately, I came in a bus provided by UNICEF, from Deir Al-Balah and arrived Al Jaleel School in Gaza city at 7am.   This bussing will solve part of the problem teachers are faced with.” added Mona.

UNICEF is supporting the transport of 1,024 teachers responsible for correcting the Tawjihi exam, from four districts in the Gaza Strip to Gaza City.  These teachers are being transported in a convoy of 19 buses from four different districts in the Gaza Strip (Rafah, Khan Younis, Central Gaza and North Gaza) to Gaza City. 

The administration of the Tawjihi exam is a huge operation.  A total of 79,159 students are taking the Tawjihi exam this year, out of which 35,428 and 43,731 are from the Gaza Strip and West Bank respectively.  47% of teachers are involved in the Tawjihi exam.   18,460 teachers out of a total of 40,000 school teachers are involved in the administration of the exam.  12,450 teachers are involved in visualization of the exam, 5,704 teachers are involved in correcting the exam and 318 teachers are responsible for issuing the final grades.

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