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High school exam celebrations marked by tragedy in the Gaza Strip

July 11, 2016 8:49 P.M. (Updated: July 12, 2016 1:29 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- As Palestinians across the occupied territory took to the streets to celebrate the announcement of the highly anticipated results of high school exams -- known in Arabic as the “Tawjihi" -- a Palestinian girl in the Gaza Strip took her own life, as several were injured during celebrations.

The 18-year-old girl from the town of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip ended her life shortly after the Palestinian Ministry of Education publicized the Tawjihi results for high school students in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Gaza police spokesperson Ayman Batneiji confirmed her passing to Ma’an.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip said that five people, including three children, were hurt as a result of fire bombs and shooting into the air as hundreds took to the street to celebrate the exam results, including a Palestinian man who was shot and injured by a stray bullet.

The Tawjihi certificate is equivalent to a high school completion certificate, and is required for students who wish to pursue higher education. Not only is the certificate required for university admissions, the score on the test determines which field of study a university student will be allowed to pursue.

This testing system is implemented in Palestine as well as other Arab countries, and due to the definitive and determining nature of the exams, they are known to generate high levels of stress among the student population.

Undersecretary of Ministry of Education in the Gaza Strip Ziad Thabit said at a press conference in May when the exams kicked off that the “difficult conditions” in which the students live in the besieged coastal enclave and the occupied West Bank were something that the Ministry of Education takes into account.

He simultaneously lauded all participating students in the Gaza Strip for sitting for the exam “despite dire conditions caused by Israeli siege and military offensives.”

The near-nightly military raids conducted by Israeli forces in Palestinians communities in the occupied West Bank become an added stress while students are studying for the exams.

This year’s exam season was marked by a particularly heavy Israeli military presence in the occupied West Bank, as entire villages there were blockaded, cutting off students from their schools, as Tawjihi documents were also prevented from being delivered to besieged villages.
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