Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)
Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Charter of discipline

New challenges are ahead for the newly appointed minister of education, reports Reem Leila

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Al-Ahram Weekly

More than 20 million students returned to school on 28 September amid hopes of stability and progress. For the first time since the issuance of school disciplinary charter No 179 for 2015, the Ministry of Education and Technical Education will apply regulations that monitor student performance and attendance at school, as well as the relationship between parents, students and the schools.

The disciplinary charter also regulates student rights and responsibilities, as well as those of a school’s daily supervisor and principal. According to the disciplinary charter, parents and students have the right to object and appeal any penalty imposed on a student.

A student who violates school rules will be subject to a suspension ranging from one to 30 days. If the student continues to violate school regulations he or she could be suspended from school for one semester or an entire academic year.

Meanwhile, new Minister of Education and Technical Education Al-Helali Al-Sherbini reported that school maintenance work has been completed in 95 per cent of the country’s schools. The remaining five per cent, equivalent to 2,500 schools, will be finished within the first two weeks of the academic year.

“There will be ten marks allocated for student attendance and behavior — seven for attendance and three marks for behaviour. If the attendance of any student is less than 85 per cent, the student will be subject to suspension or disqualification,” Al-Sherbini said.

According to the charter, student absences will be monitored electronically through the ministry’s official website on a daily basis. Class teachers must upload the absent student’s name in order to avoid favouritism from the teacher and to ensure transparency.

At the same time, hundreds of parents in the Aswan governorate demonstrated against the lack of maintenance and furniture in their children’s schools. Hani Abdel-Salam, a father of two girls in primary and preparatory stages, said classes do not have enough chairs.

“My young girl stands on her feet from early morning till the end of the school day and cries from the pain in her legs after such long hours of standing,” Abdel-Salam said.

“I will not send my girls to school until the school finishes maintenance work and furnishes the classes. At the same time, I don’t want them to lose the marks allocated for their attendance. It is unfair to them that the school does not fulfill its duty and at the same time is punishing them for something they did not do,” he complained.

Rabab Al-Moqaddem, a mother of three pupils, believes that ministry should not start applying the new regulations until the schools are ready to receiving students. “Students should not be responsible for the mistakes of others,” Al-Moqaddem said.

Among acts in the charter that are banned is practicing politics and partisan discussion in classes. The charter also stresses the importance of saluting the flag in the morning.

The ministry has sent an official statement to all of the country’s educational directorates banning students and teachers from participating in any political activities.

“Schools are places only for education. The duty of teachers and staff is to teach in and operate a school administration,” the statement said.

According to the Global Competitiveness Report issued in 2013 and published by the World Economic Forum, Egypt came last out of 148 countries for the quality of its primary education. Most schools suffer from a lack of facilities and a poor curriculum while teachers complain of low salaries, which lead many to work outside their schools giving private lessons to augment their pay.

Tarek Shawki, secretary-general of the ministry’s specialised councils, said the complaints have nothing to do with the disciplinary charter. “The percentage of schools that still have maintenance work does not exceed five per cent. All the requirements will be finished within the next few days. Parents have nothing to complain about,” Shawki said.

Yousri Abdullah, head of the Educational Buildings Association, said students whose schools will take a longer time to be renovated will be transferred to neighbouring schools.

“For the time being, the few days needed until the ministry finishes its maintenance work will not affect student performance or attendance. Parents need to be patient,” Abdullah said.

According to Abdullah, the ministry has finished renovating more than 13,000 schools. “This is considered a great accomplishment, especially when done in a very short time,” he added.

The ministry will also create private tuition services that are licenced by the government so as to put an end to private lessons. The services will be offered in youth centres and schools at reasonable prices.

This 2015-2016 fiscal year the government has allocated LE99.2 billion for education, compared to LE94.4 billion in the 2014-2015 budget.

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