Egypt's Education Minister Tarek Shawky said on Saturday that the country’s experimental schools will continue to operate until all currently enrolled students graduate.
Shawky made the statement days after his announcement that experimental schools would be scrapped, which stirred controversy among parents who have children enrolled in these schools.
Last week, Shawky announced that starting the 2019/2020 school year, the ministry would be scrapping experimental schools – which teach subjects including math and science in the English language – as part of a comprehensive plan to overhaul and modernise the country's ailing education system.
Shawky said that under the new plan students in all public schools will be taught science, math, geography and history in the Arabic language from kindergarten until the sixth grade.
The system has been popular among the middle classes due to its advanced English language curriculum, higher quality of education compared to regular public schools, and affordable fees.
In a lengthy statement on Facebook on Saturday, Shawky addressed queries about a number of newly announced education reforms.
The minister said in his statement that Egypt currently has 75,000 schools, 49,000 of which are public schools, 7,000 are private schools, 750 are experimental schools and 250 are international schools.
On the plan to switch to electronic tests for high school students, the minister said that the new system will be implemented for secondary students starting 2018/2019.
The education minister also said that the philosophy and goals of the new ministry’s education reform programme involve integrating new subjects into the curriculum while providing quality modern education in different fields.
Shawky also addressed the newly signed loan agreement with the World Bank to help fund education reforms in the country, stressing that this loan will have no impact on the nature of these reforms.
He also stressed that the loan is not intended to finance the newly introduced tablets that will be given to high school students starting the academic year 2018/2019.
The World Bank is providing Egypt with $500 million to help fund a five-year plan to implement education reforms, according to a statement by World Bank.
The education reform programme is part of Egypt’s “2030 Vision” sustainable development strategy, which stresses that education reform is critical to achieving social transformation in the country.