Minister of Education El-Hilali El-Sherbini (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egyptian Parliament's Education Committee said in an urgent meeting on Monday that Education Minister Al-Hilali Al-Sherbini should resign from office after he failed to contain the Thanaweya Amma exam leaks.
MPs described Al-Sherbini as a "failed minister", and as a result he should resign from office or parliament would move to withdraw confidence in him.
The committee's meeting came after MPs blasted Al-Sheribni in a parliamentary plenary session Monday.
Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said Al-Sherbini should attend the committee's meeting to defend himself.
"I know that the exam leaks have left hundreds of families in Egypt suffering from psychological pain, and it is the minister's duty to come to parliament to respond to the questions," Abdel-Aal said.
Abdel-Aal said the education committee should thoroughly study the exam leak scandal, prepare a report, and decide whether it is constitutional to withdraw confidence from the education minister.
MP Zeinab Salem began the attacks against Al-Sherbini by describing him as a failed minister. "I think parliament should have a role in this crisis which has caused a lot of pain for hundreds of families in Egypt," he said.
Joining forces, Salah Hassaballah, chairman of the Freedom Party, said that not only has Minister El-Sheribini failed to address the leaks crisis, but also made the wrong decision in postponing some of the final Thanaweya Amma exams.
"This flawed policy led hundreds of students to protest on the street and left many others in agony and distress," said Hassaballah.
Khaled Helal, an independent MP, said that "The leaks of different Thanaweya Amma exams were made in an orderly way and on a wide scale this year."
"As a result the education ministry officials, including the minister himself, were left helpless and unable to contain this crisis," said Helal, adding that, "the problem is not with the minister himself, but with the ministry as a whole as this scandal has exposed a lot of corruption among its senior officials."
"I think there is a mafia of corruption inside the education ministry and that this mafia should be put on trial," said Helal.
Helal also criticised El-Sherbini's decision to go ahead with the Thanaweya Amma physics exam after it was leaked.
"This decision does a lot of injustice to excellent students who were able to answer the questions of this exam," said Helal.
MP Ghada Sakr said parliament should ask the armed forces or the intelligence apparatus to take charge of printing and organising Egypt's Thanaweya Amma exams in the coming years.
Hani Abaza, deputy chairman of parliament's education committee, told reporters that prime minister Sherif Ismail and education minister Al-Hilali Al-Sherbini should come to the committee to respond to MPs' questions and attacks.
"We have invited them and it is their duty to come to explain themselves," said Abaza.