Egyptian parliament rejects draft law imposing fine on parents of absentee students

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 8 Feb 2022

Egypt's parliament rejected on Tuesday a government-drafted legislative proposal aiming to impose an EGP 500-1,000 fine on the parents of students who are absent from school without a valid reason and within one week of being notified.


"The fine shall be re-imposed if students continued to stay absent without an acceptable excuse and after their parents are notified," the amendment said.

A report prepared by the House's Education Committee said the amendment was rejected because the fine is hefty and stands beyond the financial capability of most parents.

"Not to mention that the proposal treats fathers or parents in general as criminals who should be fined simply because their kids do not go to school," said the report, adding that "many MPs also have strong suspicions that the amendment contravenes the constitution."

Representatives of most political parties said the Education Committee's rejection of the amendment reflects a clear support for Egyptian families.

Amr Darwish, deputy chairman of the Budget Committee, said the amendment violates the Egyptian constitution, which states that school education is free.

"I hope that the Ministry of Education will seek ways that will make going to school attractive to students rather than imposing hefty fines on their parents," said Darwish, adding that "one of the major reasons why students refuse to go to school is that school books are very difficult to understand for both students and teachers."

"The ministry should rather simplify education curricula and improve the education level of school teachers to encourage students to go to school," said Darwish.

MP Salah Abu Himila said, "The amendment shows that the Ministry of Education is living in a state of isolation as students refuse to go to school, not only because of the coronavirus pandemic, but also because of the fact that schools do not provide any kind of attractive education and activities."

Ahmed Khalil, spokesperson for the El-Nour Islamist party, said "it is bad that the education ministry resorts to imposing harsh financial penalties on students instead of playing its roles in reforming curricula and making schools attractive for students."

Soliman Wahdan, the spokesperson of the liberal Wafd Party, said the education ministry should instead submit to parliament a plan for reforming curricula, building more schools, and raising the living and education level of teachers.

Hesham Hilal, the spokesperson of the Modern Egypt party, said the coronavirus pandemic has placed Egyptian families under great financial, social and psychological pressure. "It is bad that the education ministry wants to impose more pressure on families during these hard times," said Hilal.

Diaaeddin Dawoud, a Nasserist MP, criticised the performance of Minister of Education Tarek Shawki, insisting that his policies have created many crises for the government and have made it a direct target of criticism by the public.

Meanwhile, the House gave a final approval for a new government-drafted law regulating hotel and tourism establishments. The law, approved in principle by the House on 26 January, aims to simplify regulations for tourism and hotel investments and businesses.

The House also approved the amendments to a law regulating the performance of real estate registration offices.

The amendments to the real estate registration law, which were approved by the House's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee on 30 January, aim to simplify property registration procedures by cutting red tape, reducing the number of required documents, and putting a time ceiling on the process.

A report prepared by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee said the amendments aim to encourage citizens to notarise their property in real estate registration offices, create a friendly and bureaucracy-free atmosphere for real estate investors, and fight property theft.

Upon orders from President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the government of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly decided last year to task the Ministry of Justice with amending the current law to streamline the process in order to encourage more notarisations. The new amendments were approved by the cabinet last November. The amendments will be up for a final vote in a later session.

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