Moroccan bac candidates anxiously await results
By Sarah Touahri for Magharebia in Rabat – 16/06/09
Tensions are running high in Morocco, as families await the results of the baccalaureate examinations. The uncertainty is as difficult for many to handle as the stress of the tests themselves.
They will not have long to wait; results are due to come out on June 17th, after two days of deliberations.
Nouhaila from Témara told Magharebia that since the last day of the tests, all discussion has focused on the results.
"We hope the teachers will be generous towards us," she said. "We're worried that the marking will be strict, particularly on literary subjects."
Her classmate, Meriem Bouchane, feels the same way. She said some of the tests were relatively hard, but thinks that candidates themselves cannot judge how well they performed.
Philosophy, according to Bouchane, was particularly complex.
"They asked us to write an essay about violence; that was the last subject on the syllabus, and we didn't study it in class because the teacher was always off," she said. "We just had to muddle through... I wrote what I knew, but I don't know if I'll get a good grade."
The pressure appears highest on the strongest students, as their marks will decide whether they can compete for seats in the most prestigious universities.
Meriem prays to God to grant her wish to get into journalism school. She managed to get 16/20 on the class examinations.
"My future depends on the national exam," she said, "so I'm waiting for the results with my heart beating nineteen to the dozen."
There are many others like Meriem, with the same feeling of unease. Those who performed poorly on the exams hope they will get a second chance when the re-testing occurs on July 2nd-4th.
Mourad, 17, was almost certain that he will not have got a high enough average in the first sitting. He hopes to receive at least the 8 necessary to qualify for a re-test.
"I was so stressed and nervous that I couldn't answer the History-Geography questions," he said. "I hardly did anything... I know I'll get less than 5 on that subject. This could affect the overall result. The re-tests will be a real chance for me."
The education ministry has promised that all the results will be available on its web site following the deliberations.
Officials are expecting the pass rate on the baccalaureate to be higher this year than in 2008: 38.11% in the first session and 45% after re-sits.
Mohamed Sassi, Director of the National Centre for Examination Evaluation, forecast a pass rate in excess of 47%. A
ccording to ministry data, 35% of candidates in 2008 received their baccalaureate passes with merit. Sassi expects this figure to rise this year.
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