The year 2020 has witnessed one of the worst pandemics in recent history. Most governments have struggled to efficiently respond to the pandemic. Among the pandemic’s countless consequences, educational systems have been severely impacted globally, leading to partial and total closures of major schools and universities. Egypt has been no exception to this.

Education Statistics in Egypt [1]

 

No. of Students

No. of Schools

No. of Classes

Public Schools

21,053,496

47,972 435,208

Private Schools

2,513,564 8,597 74,263
Total

23,567,060

56,569 509,471

 

Education during the beginning of the Pandemic (Academic Year 2019/2020) [2]

During the early days of the pandemic and the precautionary measures implemented by the government, the Ministry of Education (the “MoE”) was successful in conducting Thanaweya Amma examinations for more than 652,000 students, as well as technical diploma examinations for more than 776,000 students for the academic year 2019/2020. The MoE also succeeded in evaluating around 19 million research projects pertaining to students across all stages, in addition to holding online electronic exams for around 1.2 million for high school students.

Academic Year 2020/2021[3]

In order to respond to the pandemic and the threat it poses on the community, the MoE decided to shift the commencement of the 2020/2021 academic year to October instead of September, to prevent a second wave from occurring. The calendar shall be as follows:

Academic Year Starting Ending No. of Weeks
2020/2021 17/10/2020 24/06/2021 ~33 weeks

 

First Semester 93 days excluding national holidays
Second Semester 96 days excluding national holidays
Total 93 + 96 = 189 days, equivalent to 33 weeks

 

 

Purpose of Egypt’s Educational Reform

Among the severely affected countries, Egypt has especially struggled to maintain the education system due to pre-existing challenges in the sector. Due to a myriad of reasons, there are inconsistencies between the education provided in public versus private institutions. There are also major issues with equal access to learning opportunities for those living in poverty and/or rural areas of the country.

Most decent educational services in Egypt are privately offered and independently funded, leaving poor communities with no access to such services. Given the low quality of the offered public services, including education, poor communities also suffer from digital poverty and therefore have no access to modern day educational privileges, such as technology. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, access to technology has been the key to continuing education in the form of distance learning. Without access to technology, education has effectively been halted for those in poor communities.

School closures in response to the pandemic had a huge impact on the students, teachers and families. Fortunately, Egypt’s MoE seized the opportunity and decided to develop the education system to facilitate solutions to all stakeholders. The pandemic encouraged innovation within the system to promote delivering distance learning solutions that guarantee a quality education to those most affected.

While still in the primitive stage, Egypt’s government is keen on developing the education system by creating solutions that offer equal opportunities to all future generations. To alleviate social and economic dilemmas, the MoE is focusing on introducing a hybrid education system for K-12 schools to be implemented during the 2020/2021 academic year to guarantee the following:

  • Prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  • Develop a robust and sustainable educational system to endure future crises; and
  • Promote rapid change in learning solutions and e-learning by promoting decentralization and having stringent systems in place.

Conventional (Classroom) Academic Experience and COVID-19

In order to safely provide the conventional (classroom) academic experience for students, schools have to abide by the regulations set forth by the government including social distancing protocols.

Implemented Educational Policies [4]

In order to preserve the health and safety precautions implemented, such as social distancing, the MoE decided to distribute the in-class attendance of students throughout the week to reduce the number of students present simultaneously inside the school premises during any given day.

  • Decisions on in-class attendance for K-12 students shall be decided by the relevant school administration based on each school’s overall density, facilities and resources;
  • The academic week shall be distributed among student performance and daily sessions – morning, afternoon, or both – as follows:

KG1 to Third Grade Students (~8.15 million students)

(i) Schools operating one-session daily may operate four-days conventional (classroom) learning per week
(ii) Schools operating two-sessions daily may operate three-days conventional (classroom) learning per week

Fourth to Sixth Grade Students (~6.02 million students)

(i) Schools operating one-session daily may operate two-days conventional (classroom) learning per week
(ii) Schools operating two-sessions daily may operate three-days conventional (classroom) learning per week

Seventh to Nineth Grade Students (~5.2 million students)

(i) Schools may operate two-days conventional (classroom) learning per week, provided that students are distributed among three groups according to their class and each group attends on separate days 

Tenth to Twelfth Grade Students (~1.77 million students)

(i) Schools may operate two-days conventional (classroom) learning per week, with greater reliance on virtual learning methods and e-learning platforms established by the MoE

It should be noted that the relevant school’s administration may decide to bring in students more frequently than mentioned above, however, they need to be able to maintain MoE’s regulation of 1.5-meter distancing in classrooms at all times.

The MoE also demanded the establishment of a committee in each school to specialize in applying and implementing the governmental precautionary measures within its premises, the requirement of placing awareness posters and to have a doctor on campus to monitor students’ health status.[5]

An awareness campaign shall be launched at the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year to raise awareness among parents and students on the importance of health and preventative practices to be abided by at schools to limit the spread of the virus and promote hygiene practices such as the importance of washing hands, social distancing, wearing masks and the proper ventilation of classrooms.[6]

Available Academic Platforms [7]

  • In order to assist students in their research assignments and learning development, the MoE shall utilize the Egyptian Knowledge Bank (EKB) resources.
  • The Learning Management System (LMS) shall be integrated within the academic process to provide a learning platform to allow teachers and students to directly communicate and facilitate a more successful learning experience.
  • The “Nile” Specialized Educational Channels are owned by the government and shall be in place to provide an all-day learning platform for students across all grades.
  • Edmodo, a US-based virtual education platform shall be adopted to help build the virtual learning platform in Egypt, allowing teachers and students to directly communicate and facilitate a more successful hybrid learning experience

Distribution of Platforms

With respect to KG1 to Third Grade students, the educational process shall be conducted based on the newly developed Education 2.0 mechanism that is built upon a multi-curriculum framework.

With respect to Fourth Grade to Nineth Grade students, the educational process shall implement distance learning through the aforementioned EKB and Elmodo platforms, integrated together. Furthermore, there will be an “Ask Your Teacher” initiative introduced for Nineth Grade students.

Finally, the MoE is keen on eliminating the use of hard-copy academic material for high school students to promote the use of e-learning materials through the 1.8 million educational tablets distributed by the MoE.

Exam Process of the Thanaweya Amma8

The Thanaweya Amma shall be shifted away from the conventional examination style and shall be electronically administered by virtue of other forms of examinations such as Multiple-Choice Questions with different versions to prevent cheating.

Furthermore, a multi-trial mechanism shall be implemented over two exam periods (June and August) to provide students the opportunity to re-sit the exams, of which the highest grade shall be registered.

Finally, the examination shall be conducted by virtue of the educational tables provided by the MoE at the designated examination facilities, whereas those who have no access to such tablets will be allowed to complete their examinations on paper and they shall be graded electronically.

Physical Education, Health and Nutrition

To promote physical wellbeing, the MoE shall consult the Armed Forces’ Sports Regulatory Authority, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and youth centers to develop a routine exercise for students to be implemented to by schools.

Furthermore, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Population (the “MoH”), the MoE shall raise awareness on how to prevent chronic health disorders and how to maintain health and physical wellbeing by monitoring students’ health status and changing school feeding plans to
prevent the spread of chronic diseases such as obesity and anemia.

Projects to be Implemented during Academic Year 2020/2021. [9]

Learning Management System (LMS)

LMS shall be launched by the MoE to facilitate direct communication between teachers and students to virtually monitor student’s performance and efficiently distribute learning materials. Initially, LMS shall be implemented for high school students with access to the educational tablets
provided. Once effectively launched, the MoE plans to implement it across all school grades.

E-Learning Materials

The MoE will facilitate the preparation of tutorials to be distributed to students on the aforementioned academic platforms to complement the permitted conventional (classroom) learning experience. Furthermore, interactive e-books shall be distributed to substitute hard-copy
learning materials.

The Every Child Connected Project

The MoE plans to launch the Every Child Connected Project in collaboration with IT establishments to provide more students around Egypt with electronic devices to enable accessibility to the e-learning experience. 

Other Education Outlets

In collaboration with the State of Media Affairs, the MoE shall modernize and develop the preexisting
educational TV channels to ensure different educational opportunities are available to
students across the country with less accessibility to the more conventional educational outlets.

Teachers Training and Development Programs

Training shall be mandatory for all teaching and administrative staff in order to ensure quality education to be offered to students. The training shall include how to operate the new educational platforms such as LMS and Edmodo; as well as cover how to conduct tutorial sessions and effective ways of virtually communicating with students and parents.

Along with the aforementioned educational platforms provided for students, the MoE shall establish training and development platforms designated for teachers and administrative staff.Furthermore, such platform will help teachers develop the essential skills to deliver high quality tutorials and virtual learning experience for students. Such training programs shall be a requirement for teaching career development, including promotions and salary increases. In the future, they shall be a requirement for teaching jobs. A teacher professional license shall be mandatory to be hired in a teaching position in public schools and for career development.

Academic Tutoring Support Lectures

The MoE will provide academic tutoring support lectures, as follows:

  • Provide academic tutoring support lectures for students in transitional periods between primary school and secondary school, as well as in middle school and high school;
  • Dedicate halls for academic tutoring support lectures to eliminate the need of private tutoring at unregulated institutions;
  • Offer academic tutoring support lectures to public school students at reduced fees to increase affordability; and
  • Incentivize teachers to engage in such tutoring lectures, including receiving commission from the fees.

For any questions or inquiries, please feel free to contact:

Omar Bassiouny
Founding Partner and Head of Corporate and M&A
omar.bassiouny@matoukbassiouny.com

Islam Saeed
Partner and Head of Education Sector
islam.saeed@matoukbassiouny.com

MATOUK BASSIOUNY & HENNAWY
12 Mohamed Ali Genah
Garden City, Cairo, Egypt
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