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School suspension is a 'sovereign' decision, says Egypt's education minister

The minister revealed that only around 200 to 300 coronavirus cases were detected in 60,000 schools countrywide

Ahram Online , Monday 16 Nov 2020
Shawki
Egypt's Education minister Tarek Shawki (Ahram)
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Egypt's Education Minister Tarek Shawki said suspending school activity nationwide is "a sovereign decision" that can only be made by the state, not the ministry, while assuring that such a decision is unlikely.

"There is no need to worry about the spread of Coronavirus between pupils and teachers as the precautionary measures are applied precisely in all schools across the country," the minister said in a televised statement on Sunday night.

Any decision taken by the ministry to close any in-person class is a preventive measure not to jeopardise the students and teachers, Shawki said, adding "this should reassure parents."

Shawki’s remarks come as Coronavirus cases have been detected in some schools, a matter that led to the closure of classes at these schools as per medical protocol announced by the ministry before the onset of this academic year.

The minister revealed that "only around 200 to 300 coronavirus cases were detected in 60,000 schools countrywide."

A slight rise has been witnessed nationwide recently in the daily coronavirus toll as the country is rolling into winter. The rise raises concerns about seeing a second wave of the pandemic, like many other countries, after months of recording low infections and deaths.

The minister, however, stressed that students would not be exempt from some parts of this year’s curriculum even if the state imposes a full lockdown, referring to the online alternative educational sources provided by the ministry.

The ministry has developed many educational platforms through which students can register to receive online classes.

The current school year started last month under a hybrid system of online and face-to-face classes to limit the density at classrooms and lecture halls, as it is believed to be a critical factor that speeds up the spread of the virus.

In March, Egypt suspended in-person classes at all schools and universities well before the end of the last academic year, as part of sweeping anti-Coronavirus measures.

The ministry introduced a new research paper system as an alternative to written and oral exams for all grades, except for students who were in the final year of high school, who sat for in-person exams in June and July.

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