Egypt's Senate to discuss controversial amendments to education law

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 17 Apr 2021

The amendments introduce a three-year Thanawaya Amma (high school) system and open the door for students to pass online exams

File photo: Egypt's Senate (Photo: Khaled Mashaal)

The Senate – Egypt's Consultative Upper House – is scheduled to meet Sunday and Monday to discuss amendments to two laws on education and the syndicate of engineers.

A report on the Education Law (law 139/1981) said the amendments aim to change the Thanawaya Amma (high school) stage to be three years in stead of one.
"Students will have to pass Thanawaya Amma exams over three years, with the degrees they get at the end of each year to be added up at the end of the three years," said the report, adding that "students will be also allowed to pass exams several times, but with the stipulation that the first exam is held free and the next exams are against fees."
Students who wish to pass exams on certain subjects hoping to get higher degrees will be allowed to do so but only against a payment of LE5,000 per subject.
Students can also pass online exams by the use of tablet computers.
The Senate's Education Committee, however, recommended that the above amendments be rejected upon the grounds that they violate Egypt's 2014 constitution.
"The amendments contravene the constitutional principle of "free education" as stipulated by Article 19 of the constitution, and the principle of equality as stated by Article nine of the constitution," said the committee.
The law's explanatory note, as drafted by the ministry of education, indicates that scrapping the old one-year Thanawaya Amma system in favor of a new three-year one will help improve the quality of education, reinforce competition and put an end to the material and psychological suffering of students and their families.
The Senate will also discuss amendments to the law regulating the performance of the Syndicate of Engineers.
The amendments, provisionally approved by the Senate two weeks ago, seek to help the Syndicate of Engineers keep pace with technological progress in engineering sciences.
"The amendments aim to upgrade the scientific capacities of Egyptian engineers to be able to contribute to the progress of society," said a Senate report.
The amendments also stipulate that engineers employed by state ministries, public authorities, organisations and institutions should be members of the syndicate of engineers.
"Foreign engineers and foreign consultancy offices can get work permits only against a payment of EGP 50,000 and EGP 300,000 respectively," added the report.
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