Palestine: School Graduation In Gaza

The tawjihi is the general secondary examination in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan, and it determines a student's choice of university and major. The fact that this year the exams were held simultaneously in the West Bank and Gaza was hailed as a sign of national unity. In this post, we hear the reaction of bloggers in Gaza to the tawjihi results.

On average only half the students who sit the tawjihi actually pass. Tawjihi results are announced in the media, and public celebrations are held for those who pass. Each year the highest scorer – this year an honour held by Tala Al-Battia of Nablus – becomes a celebrity. Jawwal, the Palestinian mobile phone service provider, is the “accredited sponsor” of the tawjihi exams, and ran a competition this year called “Guess Your Tawjihi Result and Win Thousands of Dollars”. However, for the families of teenagers killed in the attacks on Gaza earlier this year, this is a time of sadness – and to commemorate the students, the Hamas government presented honorary tawjihi certificates.

At the Electronic Intifada, Rami Almeghari reported on the determination of Gaza's students to study for their exams, regardless of circumstances. One student, Abeer Abu Shawish, told him:

“Prior to the war in late December 2008, I had a plan for studying for the tawjihi. One day, in the middle of the war, I heard shelling nearby at 11:00pm. However, I took a long deep breath and continued my studies. Although I was extremely upset by the Israeli attacks from air, sea and land, I told myself that I must succeed in order to fight the Israeli occupation with my own way, education!”

The stress of the exams is clear in a post by student Ghost of Palestine called “The results are out”:

لا تعليـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــق.!
No commmmmment!

Mutasharrid has just passed, with a score of 91.9:

أمّي ، أبي ، دربكة الأقدام على موسيقى وأغاني لا نحفظها ، أصوات ضحكاتهم الغجريّة ، زغاريد الفلاحات بكل ما اوتين من فرح ، همهمة جدتي بأدعيتها القدسيّة ، الفرح الوحشيّ …
My mother, my father, the footsteps to music and songs we haven't memorised, the sounds of their gypsy laughs, the ululations of the farmer women with all the happiness they can summon, the humming of my grandmother of Jerusalem prayers, the untamed happiness…

Hazem says:

أتقدم بالتهنئة الممزوجة بعبير التقدير والاحترام لطلبة الثانوية العامة بمناسبة نجاحهم سائلاً المولى عز وجل ان يوفقهم فى حياتهم العلمية والعملية .
ونقول رغم الحصار والدمار رغم الحرب الاخيرة على غزة الا ان النسب مبشرة والنتائج افضل من نتائج العام الماضى
I would like to extend my congratulations, along with my appreciation and respect, to the secondary level students on the occasion of their success, asking the Almighty that they succeed in their future studies and work. We can say that despite the siege and destruction, despite the last war on Gaza, the pass rates are positive and the results better than those of the previous year.

In a joint post, Nazek Abu Rahma and Hanadi Al Qawasmi write:

هذه بعض مشاهد فرحة فلسطين بطلابها المتفوقين، فلسطين المعروفة بتحصيل أبنائها الأكاديمي العالي مقارنة بأقرانها من العرب، الذين عرفوا أن علماً يحصلونه هنا وهناك يُعلي رصيد نضالهم. حتى الطلاب الأسرى منهم (1821 أسير) ما زالوا حتى اللحظة يطالبون سلطات الاحتلال بحقهم في التقدم لامتحان الثانوية من وراء القضبان. مشاهد هنا وهناك، بعضها يعكس مشاعر ممتزجة في قلوب الفلسطينيين مزينة بأمل أن تتحول الوحدة التربوية إلى وحدةٍ سياسيةٍ .
These are some of the scenes of joy in Palestine for its outstanding students. Palestine is renowned for the high academic achievement of its students, compared with other Arab nations. They know that the knowledge they acquire from every place is part of their resistance. Even the students who are prisoners (1,821) are continuing to this moment to demand from the occupation forces [Israel] their right to sit the secondary level examinations from behind bars. Scenes from here and there, some reflecting the feelings moving in the hearts of Palestinians, carrying the hope that this educational unity will turn into political unity.


  • Sharon Fritsch

    My congratuations to all the Palestinian students who succeed in passing their exams, especially to those in Gaza. May the occupation of Palestine end soon. May peace and justice prevail.

    Chico, California, U.S.A.

  • […] Palestinian writers and bloggers discuss school graduation in Gaza; attempting a sense of normality in a completely unreal environment. […]

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