Saturday,17 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1404, (2 - 8 August 2018)
Saturday,17 November, 2018
Issue 1404, (2 - 8 August 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Sixth Youth Conference

In the sixth edition of the National Youth Conference (NYC), as was the case in the previous editions, the youth themselves chose the discussion topics through a number of platforms that covered all parts of Egypt. In general, this year’s discussions focused on the “development of the Egyptian person”. Beneath this heading, reform of the educational and health systems received particular focus, especially given that these sectors have already been earmarked for ambitious and comprehensive modernisation projects.
 
Setting the tone for the conference, which was held at Cairo University 28-29 July, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said that dialogue and communication are the way to build a strong society. He also underscored his great confidence in Egypt’s youth and made it clear that education was the way forward to progress and advancement. Ideas would change and shape the state, he said.
 
Noting that education and health would top the nation’s strategic priorities in the coming period, he stressed that the government supported educational institutions in their efforts to develop the best possible educational curricula and pedagogies.
 
All participants in the conference — the president, the youth, and experts — agreed that it was important to explain more fully, through the various media, the state’s educational philosophy. In this regard, Al-Sisi said, “We want to forge human beings who are flexible and cultured, not rigid, and who love their families and other people.” Discussions on educational reform emphasised the need to promote scientific research and to support academically outstanding and innovative youth by developing autonomous resources of universities so as to better enable them to improve their academic services.
 
The conference also reviewed the latest progress in the development of the health insurance system. The president underscored the need to ensure financial sustainability for the health insurance system and to put an end to patient waiting lists. He explained that the waiting list system cost the government billions of pounds, or about LE100,000 per case. The new health reform project will cost an estimated LE18 billion over 15 years, according to official figures.
 
Al-Sisi urged people to stop attacking the new health insurance system without being properly informed. Such criticisms caused people to lose confidence in the system whereas it would be more productive if society worked together to make sure the health insurance system succeeded. He added that if the implementation process of the new comprehensive health insurance system is properly handled, it will succeed.
 
Another important discussion topic at the conference was “automated information” systems. In sessions dedicated to this subject, presentations furnished evidence of major strides forward in the development of national databases. Because these are so crucial to enhancing and modernising the performance of public services in different fields, the president asked the people in charge of the digitalisation project, known as the National Information Infrastructure Project, to complete it within four years instead of six.


Other information presented in the conference testified to considerable progress in the fight against corruption. According to Mohamed Irfan, director of the Administrative Oversight Authority, there has been a marked rise in the rates of prosecutions for corruption during the past three years. “There are no red lines, as was once the case in the past,” Irfan said, stressing: “Everyone is equal before the law.” He explained that his department works in accordance with the belief that unearthing crimes of corruption is an important component of the government’s economic reform.
 
Irfan rejected the charge that his department had inflated the numbers of people charged with corruption crimes. “There was such a large number of cases that some people started to believe that the arrest numbers were exaggerated. So, they circulated reports to the effect that the accused were proved innocent and that the prosecutor-general’s office released them and offered an apology. But the office, itself, has denied this.”
 
As the participants in the discussions collectively concluded, as important as reform processes are, progress in the fight against corruption is indispensable if Egyptians are to feel the tangible returns of reform.

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