Tarek Shawqi, Egypt's education minister
Education Minister Tarek Shawky announced on Thursday that the 2021/22 school year would start normally with full in-person attendance of students at school.
In a statement on his official Facebook account, Shawky added full attendance would be required, with absences of students, teachers and administrators recorded.
“The digital and educational resources are a complement to the education process in schools and not an alternative to it, except in extreme necessity and pandemic,” Shawky added.
Egypt's 2021/22 school year will start on Saturday 17 October according to a statement by the education minister in July.
In 2020, schools and universities suspended in-person classes in March in the wake of the pandemic. Most students have remained at home since, with assignments given online, although pupils taking their final high school exams – the Thanaweya Amma – did so in person in June and July.
The education ministry has already set 7 September as the deadline for school staffers to complete their COVID-19 vaccine registration.
Shawky also fired back on Thursday at criticism of the Thanaweya Amma and the demands of some of students and parents.
Earlier Thursday tens of Thanaweya Amma students and their parents organized a small demonstration in front of the Ministry of Education in downtown Cairo demanding the re-correction of the exams manually instead of the electronic system adopted this year, as many students failed this year.
The students also demanded to repeat the exams if they fail in more than two subjects instead of repeating the whole year. Also, parents said that the results were unfair as the exams happened during coronavirus pandemic. The demands in the small protest were echoed online with petitions to the minister and the president.
Minister of Education Shawki said on Tuesday that the success rate among Egypt's Thanaweya Amma students in the academic year 2020/21 was 74 percent, which is lower than last year.
The grades of students this year were significantly lower than previous years, such that for the first time in decades no student obtained the perfect 100 percent score this year in all subjects.
In a post on his personal Facebook account, the minister shared an excerpt from an educational law regulating the Thanawya Amma exams, adding that they could not allow a second chance for students who failed in more than two subjects, nor could it allow students to receive more than 50% of the full grade of the subjects they have a second exam in.