The Ministry of Education announced it was hiring part-time teachers for the upcoming school year 2021-22 to make up for the current shortage of teachers in all grades whether primary, preparatory, or secondary. The part-timers, who should be graduates of a university of a relevant specialty, will be trained on modern teaching methods.
Deputy Minister of Education for Technical Education Affairs Mohamed Megahed noted that there were at present 1.187 million teachers while the number of school students exceeded 24 million in close to 57,000 schools. According to Megahed, there is a shortage of 320,000 teachers.
Part-time applicants who should not be older than 50 will teach a maximum of 24 classes a week, Megahed added. They will be paid LE20 a class.
Although this year’s education budget has increased to LE256 billion from LE241.6 billion last year, of which 80 per cent is allocated for wages, there are no funds to hire teachers on a permanent basis, Megahed said. The ministry will pay the part-timers from the ministry’s special funds in order not to financially burden either the ministry or the country’s general budget, he said.
Head of the Teachers Syndicate Khalaf Al-Zanati criticised the concept of part-time teaching, saying it could seriously affect the educational system because they do not have the proper training. Moreover, he said, since they do not have any rights, they lack loyalty to the profession. “They are just pain killers, not an actual and credible solution to the problem,” Al-Zanati added.
“The government is spending huge amounts of money on national projects. Does it not have enough resources to appoint teachers in order to end the shortage, and pay them reasonable salaries for them to lead a decent and respectable life,” Al-Zanati asked, believing the only solution was to train a new batch of teachers on a salary that would meet their living standards, he added.
Former member of the House of Representatives’ Education Committee Mahmoud Atteya said he hoped the ministry would use its resources to inject large financial amounts that could contribute to covering the shortage of teachers who, he added, were “indispensable in light of the deficiency in some specialties”.
Atteya pointed out that in 2012 when there was a significant shortage of teachers, parliament summoned the then ministers of education and finance and succeeded in providing allocations for the permanent appointment of temporary teachers.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 30 September, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.