Bac Sport Event: A Farewell Festival to High School Sport Activities or a Teasing Parade?

In Tunisia, the Baccalaureate degree is an important step that the whole Tunisian community prepares for. Recently, the Ministry of Education has fixed the date of the final notional exam period, which happens to take place during the month of fasting this year. Now, after an extended year of studies in high schools, pupils are to sit for a global one week exam allowing university access and offering the Baccalaureate degree in a specific field. This important transition is filled with adventures. Adding to the stress of the final exam and the massive pressure emerging from the recent high-school system that has drastically changed the exams and holidays calendar, sport activities take share in the pupils’ global average.  Despite the hardships of the final high school year, pupils are always concerned with commemorating their journey as being the best class team ever, and there is no other way to express this opportunity other than the ‘Bac Sport’ event.

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The Bac Sport event is generally the final high school test in physical performances, which consists of an obligatory test of gymnastics including two optional sport activities such as long-jump leaping, long distance running or iron ball throwing. The event depends of the evaluation of a jury, usually coming from an external school department, in order to make the evaluation as fair as possible. Besides, this final sport test lasts many days in a raw. Each day is allocated for a specific school that hosts the jury whose visit circulates from one state to another every day. The Bac Sport event is divided into two sessions based on sex: the morning session is confined to females, and the afternoon session is for the males.  Since the test is not a mixed activity, pupils sought to prepare a collaborative Pre- Bac Sport event called Bac Sport Parade, as known as; “Dakhlat el Bac Sport”. It is a festival-like preparation, which precedes the final sport test. In this respect, students put a lot of effort in acknowledging their section, whether it is scientific, literary or technical. In fact, this parade has the tendency to celebrate a specific class, where posters are hanged, fireworks are used, and rehearsals are arranged. The idea in itself sounds promising because it reflects the pupils’ creativity and shows the solidarity as well as the competition between pupils or even schools to make this event similar to the Olympic Games. However, in the previous years, some Bac Sport parades were not at the heart ease. To mention certain incidents, there was a high school in the South that raised the ISIS flag with some Fascist political figures on the High school wall. Another shocking, even a vexing flag belonging to the “Bac technique” section was raised with a pornographic scenery in reference to the technique’s second syllable, not to mention the aggressive violence that broke the jaws of a pupil. Despite these sad and disappointing happenings, some parades were surprisingly honorable. None could forget the Bac Sport Parade of the high school in Sfax, where pupils chose to reward their teachers including the retired ones. Indeed, there were many other parades that were more about artistically oriented activities based on concert-like ceremonies echoing high-level songs; whereas, in some other schools, pupils chose many expressive themes such as the Palestinian cause or the Tunisian Revolution. In other words, whatever were the rituals of the Bac Sport Parade, students are supposed to respect the ethical standards and the school discipline to avoid serious troubles that ruin the ambiance.

[Link to a Facebook page created for high schools to post photos of their parades and compete for the best parade] 

After the Bac Sport Parade, it’s time to talk about the big day, that is the Bac Sport event. Since this test plays a salient role in the pupils’ final grades, it is clear that they endure tremendous preparations, which are not only based on physical exercise but rather on their first appearance before the members of the jury. For a pupil, the first impression increases the chances of getting a higher mark. For this occasion, the pupils undergoe a whole chain of a self-making image that usually relies on providing new outfit and some optional equipment depending on the pupils’ financial capacities. As a serious concern is paid to facing the jury in perfect attire, it’s not surprising that the clothing market can benefit from this event too. During the Bac Sport event, average outfit prices turn into high brand prices and the ladies’ hairdressers or barber shops are open till late at night. However, attentions are more paid to the first session of the test because girls put more effort in using more than one outfit and in showing a huge transformation.

The abundance of audience during the first part of the exam runs along different lines. Despite the massive security provided there, intruders as always have their techniques to attend part of the event. If not, the social network can do the job and compensate for their absence, through shared pictures or videos.  Among this discreet audience, there is a large part of spoilers if not perverts, who always try to look for a sexual interpretation to the female pupil’s gymnastic rehearsal. Others are there to criticize and give their opinions either about the female pupils’ performance or looks. Not to forget the large amount of gossip towards certain girls, who are pointed as excessively putting too much make up or dressed in an inappropriate way. Despite all this, a 62-year old Bac sport candidate made it to the headlines as a success story for performing the gymnastics routine and succeeding in the test despite of her age. A video of her performance ran rampant, proving that it’s never too late to enjoy high school days and challenging oneself to sit for an exam and succeed at it. In the end, each is saving a precious memory of the Bac Sport event. If this article brought you back to reminiscence, please do share your Bac Sport experience in the comments section.

Article written by Awatef Hamdi

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