Education Minister Reda Hegazi addressing Egypt s Senate members on Monday
"The legislation will impose hefty fines – but not jail terms – on those who practice teaching without a prior licence," said Hegazi, adding that "the bill will be referred to the House and the Senate to be discussed and voted on in the very near future."
Hegazi's remark came during a debate by Egypt's Senate on Monday evening over education reform and the necessity of recovering the role of public schools in the teaching process. "The new legislation aims to impose discipline in public schools and stem the phenomenon of private tutoring," said Hegazi.
Hegazi also revealed that "French will be a second language in public preparatory schools very soon." "We have concluded a protocol with the French Institute in Cairo to give training to teachers who will teach French in preparatory schools," said Hegazi.
According to Hegazi, Egypt's education ministry is facing five majort challenges.
"These are the spread of the bad phenomenon of private tutoring, a shortage of teachers, a shortage of school buildings, crowded classrooms and stacked curricula," said Hegazi, admitting that "private tutoring is the main reason why students stay absent from schools."
"But we are all working now to recover the role of public schools to be the main venue for education, because without this students will continue resorting to private tutoring centres," said Hegazi, adding that "we are also doing our best to improve the performance of teachers to be like ‘maestros’ in classrooms."
According to Hegazi, "students in grade three in preparatory and secondary schools are the only ones who do not go to schools." In other grades, attendance stands at 87.3 percent," asserted Hegazi.
Hegazi revealed that curricula of primary school's grade four and five will be cut short in the second term of the school year 2022/23. "We do not want students to be lost in a maze of school subjects, and in fact we want a revolution to change the content of school books if we to develop the thinking skills of students," said Hegazi.
Most senators agreed that the education process in Egypt is in a need of a radical reform. Senator Atef Alameddin complained that "private tutoring costs Egyptian families EGP 66 billion per year." "We want the role of public school to be recovered to save families from these tremendous costs," said Alameddin.
Senator El-Sayed El-Shafie claimed that "private tutoring costs a family EGP 15,000-25,000 in fees per year."
Senator Hossam El-Khouli said "teaching in public schools costs the government EGP 12,00-13,000 per year, and in spite of this students prefer going to private tutoring centres."
Senator Nabil Dibis, head of the Senate's education committee, proposed imposing a 10 percent income tax on teachers who provide private tutoring, with the proceeds to be spent on improving public schools.