Friday,26 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1366, (26 October - 1 November 2017)
Friday,26 April, 2019
Issue 1366, (26 October - 1 November 2017)

Ahram Weekly

New school confusion

The start of the academic year at Egypt’s new Japanese schools has been postponed, reports Mai Samih


New school confusion
New school confusion

A presidential decree has postponed the beginning of the school year for children accepted by Egypt’s new Japanese schools.

“President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi postponed the opening of the new Japanese schools in order that the selection process of students and teachers reaches the highest levels of transparency,” Minister of Education Tarek Shawki told a press conference on 19 October.

New conditions for the admission of both students and teachers will now be applied.

“We want something we can be proud of for our children. It is best to start correctly rather than experiment since otherwise people will become upset and say this is not what they expected,” said Shawki.

Students had been accepted by the Japanese schools on the basis of age and the closeness of their homes to the new schools. Those already accepted will now be sent back to their original schools. Pupils about to enter kindergarten will be transferred to the closest government experimental schools.

The decision has left parents in a quandary. Noha, a mother of a six-year-old already accepted by one of the Japanese schools, says she has no idea what the new acceptance criteria will be and wonders whether children will be admitted by other schools after missing a month of term time.

The school year in regular government schools began on 24 September.

Assistant Minister of Education for National Projects Hind Galal told Al-Ahram Weekly 29,000 students applied for one of the 1,800 places at the new schools.

The Embassy of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) say the Ministry of Education is responsible for determining the start of the academic year.  

Social media has been rife with speculation about the reasons for the delay with many posting that the Ministry of Education wants to increase fees at the schools.

Galal warned that people were jumping to conclusions. “New standards for accepting children and teachers will be put in place but they have not yet been finalised,” she said.

The syllabus at the Japanese schools will be the same as at experimental language schools, says Galal, the only difference being that the Tokkatsu Plus system will be applied in and outside of classroom in the form of extra-curricular activities.

Tokkatsu Plus seeks to promote the development of mind and body, strengthening pupils’ personalities and enhancing positive and practical behavioural traits.

Eight schools have been selected to apply the system which was rolled out last year on an experimental basis in two schools, one in the Cairo district of Al-Sayeda Zeinab, the other in Helmeyat Al-Zaytoun.

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