School suspension will likely be extended: Egypt's education minister

Sama Osama , Tuesday 24 Mar 2020

Tarek Shawky
Egypt's Education Minister Tarek Shawky

Egypt’s Education Minister Tarek Shawky said on Monday that the suspension of schools in the country over the coronavirus outbreak will likely be extended.

“President [Abdel-Fattah] El-Sisi said we have two more weeks… I believe the two-week [suspension] period we specified earlier will be extended,” Shawky said in a phone call with MBC Masr TV channel.

Egypt announced a two-week suspension of schools and universities starting 15 March in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shawky asserted that the ministry is still studying the case of Thanaweya Amma (high school diploma) and other diplomas, as any alteration to their set timeline will have a “big impact on students future.”

He said that more decisions and regulations regarding the resumption of study and examination dates, as well as education methods, will be announced by the end of this week.

The education minister added that some parents whose children are registered for the UK’s International Secondary Education (IGCSE) exam and the American SAT have reached out to the ministry for help, but he said that those exams have been cancelled worldwide.

“We have our limits, those examinations were cancelled overseas… We’re looking into everything and contacting the foreign entities to reach a solution for our children”

“We should accept that some things will cause us harm.” Shawki said regarding the decisions being taken to face the coronavirus crisis.

“The ministry employees themselves are afraid to leave their homes, we are working with a quarter of our capacity.”

On Monday, Egypt’s Ministry of Health announced five new coronavirus fatalities and 39 new infections, raising the country’s death toll to 19 and the total number of cases to 366.
Besides suspending schools, Egypt has also taken several measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

On Saturday, Egypt suspended mass prayers at mosques and shut down churches.

On 19 March, the country shut down malls, restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs overnight from 19 to 31 March.

On 16 March, the country announced it was suspending international flights from 19 till 31 March at all airports nationwide and limiting the presence of public sector employees. 

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