Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has postponed the opening of new Japanese schools in the country in order to guarantee the highest level of transparency in the selection process of students and teachers, Minister of Education Tarek Shawky announced on Thursday.
"New conditions will be set for the admission of students and teachers at the Japanese schools," Shawky said at a press conference on Thursday, adding that all the previous procedures for selecting students and teachers have been cancelled scrapped.
Five new Japanese schools, which run from kindergarten through the third grade, were set to open their doors for students on Sunday.
"[Some 1,800] students who have been accepted in Japanese schools will remain in their original schools," the minister said, adding that students enrolled in the kindergarten stage will be transferred to experimental schools in their areas.
Over 20,000 students applied for the Japanese schools since registration opened on 27 September. Some 11,000 students were not accepted.
Shawky said that his ministry is not fully prepared to run the new schools in their current status.
During a meeting with Shawky on Wednesday, El-Sisi ordered the formation of a specialised committee comprising sociology, psychology, mathematics and language professors to select students and teachers for the Japanese schools and to ensure that these schools achieve efficient results.
Last week, however, MP Anisa Hassouna requested a hearing session in parliament with the minister of education to discuss what she described as "disorganized management" of the project.
Hassouna said that there was a lack of transparency and an absence of clear and reasonable criteria for accepting or rejecting students at the Japanese schools.
The project aims to create 100 such schools as part of a cooperation protocol signed between Egypt and Japan in May 2017, with Japan providing the necessary technical support for the project.
The new schools will teach the same curricula of government schools while adopting the Japanese "whole child education" system known as Tokkatsu.
Tokkatsu's course of study focuses on achieving a balanced development of intellect, virtue and body by ensuring academic competence, rich emotions and healthy physical development.
The five schools included in the first phase of the project are located in Cairo's Al-Shorouk City, the 5th Settlement, and the governorates of Assiut and Minya. Another school is currently under construction in the governorate of Suez, east of Cairo.