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Bac, World Cup occupy Tunisian students

By Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia in Tunis – 17/06/10

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Feelings of resentment, optimism, relief, sadness and happiness can all be found among Tunisian bac students, who finished their exam period on Wednesday (June 16th).

This year was different for one reason: the World Cup in South Africa kicked off three days before the end of exams.

Magharebia toured schools in mid-town Tunis to gauge how the candidates felt about the exams and to find out how they balanced test-taking with the global football tournament.

Arts candidate Nassreddine Madrouri told Magharebia he was relieved and satisfied with the exams – even philosophy, which is considered the key to success in his field.

"The exam was good and the questions were extremely easy," he said.

Madrouri also said he was lucky that most of his exams took place before the start of the World Cup, which allowed him to watch the matches from start to finish.

"I've been waiting for this event for a while, to enjoy watching the matches of the best international teams," he said. "It's true that it coincided with my exams, but for me, the revision stage took three weeks and left a place for the World Cup."

Aida, another bac candidate, liked how the Arabic exam was organised.

"The three topics that were presented were easy and were based on what was taught throughout the year," she said. "God willing, I'll succeed in the main section."

The Arabic exam was less difficult than in previous years and reflected the curriculum, Arabic teacher Ghazi Khiari told Magharebia.

The history and geography exams were easy, said arts student Mohamed Barhoumi, who was visibly relieved. But he wasn't so confident about the informatics exam.

"I studied at a private school that lacks an informatics hall, which forced me to take make-up classes in the subject," he said.

During exams, Barhoumi said, he was content to watch only selected World Cup matches, especially those of the Greens or the German team, which boasts a player born in Tunisia.

For their part, informatics candidates agreed that the exam contained no surprises and that questions were asked in the usual style.

Any student, even an average one, would be able to answer the questions about physics and those on the other exams, Wael Ghdamsi said.

Ghdamsi said that he wasn't following the World Cup that closely, and he didn't even know the names of the teams. He told Magharebia he would watch the semi-finals and finals matches to learn who the world champions are.

For her part, Yossra Ben Othmane criticised students who spent their time watching football instead of studying, which she called "extremely important".

Matches can be recorded and watched later, while the exams can't be repeated, she said.

While arts and informatics students were relieved and optimistic about their exams, economics and management students said they were frustrated.

Many students told Magharebia that they were not happy with the maths exam in particular, a main subject that is critical to bac success.

The exam was one of the most difficult in years, and even some of the maths students failed to answer the questions, said Mohamed Anis Khmari.

"Apart from the first question, which was easy, I didn't understand anything. Although I'm considered one of the distinguished students in this subject, I couldn't figure out the problems, which didn't match what we've studied and been accustomed to," he said.

Fellow candidate Taeib Dridi agreed. "The type of problems that we found on this exam was not expected. In addition, the allotted time wasn't enough to answer half of the questions. This made me lose my concentration and leave the exam hall, losing hope of succeeding in the main session."

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    yosri 2010-6-20

    Having the bac at the same time as the World Cup is causing a lot of problems this year with regards to studying. Unfortunately, Tunisia did not qualify for this World Cup.