New academic year brings new speculations and shortages

A new academic year begins Saturday in many public and private schools amid much speculation.

Changing curricula, missing text books and unprepared classrooms mark the beginning of the new school year

Parts of the syllabus have been scrapped and replaced and a new system of assessment has been introduced for some school years.  The rest of the schools, both public and private, will re-open on Sunday.

Minister of Education Ahmed Zaki Badr will hold a videoconference meeting with senior education officials across Egypt to check preparations for the new school year and ensure that textbooks have been delivered.

Meanwhile, parents of students enrolled in private schools have complained that their schools have refused to hand out the textbooks to students who only paid part of their fees, even though a decision by the minister had made it illegal to do so.  They also said the books were sold at exaggerated prices.

The ministry, on the other hand, has been able to deliver 70 percent of the newly developed textbooks for elementary and preparatory schools.

Across Egypt, the new academic year kicked off amid preparations and delays. 

In Ismailia, a source from the education department said schools are ready to receive 223,000 students today.

Ismailia Governor Abdel Gelil al-Fakharani held a meeting with education department officials where he gave instructions to prevent street vendors from standing near schools and gave orders to security patrols to protect school girls from possible incidences of harassment.

In Minya, a shortage of seats, desks and lab equipment in three new schools built at cost of LE8.5 million has led to postponing the beginning of the new term. Mahmoud Wahdan, deputy of the education ministry in Minya, said he has contacted the ministry to send supplies as soon as possible, adding that the shortage of school books has reached 15 percent.

In Gharbiya, LE14.4 million was allocated to school maintenance and committees were formed to ensure schools were properly-equipped for the new academic year. Copies of the textbooks for the new syllabus were however in short supply.

Some education departments have also decided to erect barbed wire fences to prevent students from sneaking out of school.

Minister of Transport Alaa Fahmi gave instructions to officials not to increase the metro subscription fees for students.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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