File Photo: A general view of the Egyptian parliament during a working session (AP)
"I have tasked the House's Education Committee with holding hearing sessions on Minister of Education Reda Hegazi's statement before the House on 18 October on new education policies," said El-Gebaly.
"This statement is very important as it draws up a new roadmap for the education sector and also could radically impact the future of education in Egypt, and so it should be a matter of discussion in the form of hearing sessions at which education experts and specialists can participate and study in detail ahead of putting this new policy into effect on the ground,” El-Gebaly said.
"I hope that at the end of these hearing sessions the Education Committee will prepare a report to be presented to the House to be discussed as soon as possible," said El-Gebaly.
In his statement before the House on 18 October, Hegazi revealed that the Ministry of Education is planning to license private tutoring centres and allow school teachers to act as tutors at these centres in return for fees to be paid to the ministry.
"The business of these private tutoring centres is valued at EGP 47 billion a year, and that the state is ready to legalise them, but only in exchange for fees," said Hegazi, also indicating that "by licensing these centres we would make sure that they offer school lessons to students in a safe and legal environment and at an affordable cost, that teachers get extra income and that the education ministry charge fees."
"As for the so-called ‘support groups’ organised by some schools to give extra lessons after school hours to students, these will be operated by private companies with the stipulation they offer high-quality education for reasonable fees," said Hegazi, asking that MPs help him turn this new policy into fact on the ground.
Many MPs, however, said they consider Hegazi's new policy a setback and that it would push students to depend even more on private tutoring centres and teachers and less on government schools.
"This new radical policy will further isolate government schools from recovering their traditional role as the main education outlet for students," said MP Gihan El-Bayoumi, adding that "in fact, this new policy means a death penalty for government schools."
MPs asked speaker El-Gebaly to put this radical change in education policies up for discussion in hearing sessions.