The Ministry of Education issued a decree earlier this month setting regulations for fee increases for private and international schools. The ministerial decision was based on decree No 163/2023 regarding the increase in annual tuition fees for private Arabic and language schools.
Minister of Education Reda Hegazi said the decree aims to strike a delicate balance between enhancing the quality of education and fostering a conducive learning environment for students. The initiative entails the “meticulous” definition of fees for private and international schools, said Hegazi.
The primary objective of the decision, according to Hegazi, is to allocate funds to bolster school infrastructure and elevate the overall educational environment.
One of the key facets of the decision is streamlining payment for tuition fees. Ministry of Education Spokesman Shadi Zalata said the ministry has partnered with various electronic payment channels and post offices throughout the nation to facilitate easy and convenient payment mechanisms for parents.
The minister’s decision outlines varying percentage increases in fees: the lower the fees, the higher the percentage of the increase in fees. For example, schools with tuition fees less than LE5,000 will see a 25 per cent annual increase.
At the higher end, schools with fees of LE35,000 or more will be subject to a six per cent annual increase.
According to Sami Hashem, head of parliament’s Education Committee, adequate financial resources are needed so schools can invest in advanced educational resources, training programmes for teachers, and the overall development of student skills.
School owners, according to Hashem, must understand that the decision goes beyond the fiscal realm. “It redefines the relationship between education, finances and societal development,” he said.
But the Egyptian Association of Private Schools Owners (EAPSO) is not too happy about the decree.
Nomeir Suleiman, a school owner and member of EAPSO, noted that EAPSO will hold a meeting within the next few days to discuss the overall situation. “Based on its assessment, the proper decision will be taken to solve the crisis,” Suleiman said. He pointed out that private schools must pay bonuses, rent buses, buy new ones, pay teachers’ salaries, and hire cadres to enhance the status of teachers. “How does the ministry expect us to fulfil all our commitments?” he asked.
Suleiman said the fact that the decree was issued only a few weeks prior to the beginning of the new academic year did not help. “We did not have time to draw up a plan on how we are going to deal with the new situation.”
* A version of this article appears in print in the 28 September, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly