Minister: New education system restored Egypt’s soft power across ME, Africa

The latest educational upheavals are part of the state’s major national projects that seek restoring Egypt’s pioneering global status as well as its soft power across the Middle East and Africa, said Minister of Education and Technical Education Tarek Shawki.

In an interview with MENA Board Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Ali Hassan, Shawki said that the year 2019 crowned President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’ efforts to upgrade the country’s education system since he has assumed the presidency in 2014 that was followed by the launch of the Towards an Egyptian Society that Learns, Thinks and Innovates initiative.

The launch of the Egyptian Knowledge Bank is one of the earliest achievements of the aforementioned initiative, the minister said, noting that the world’s largest digital library intends to provide a global knowledge-based content that grants free unlimited access to various sources exclusively for the 100 million Egyptians.

Shawki highlighted the World Bank (WB) applause of the Egyptian experience regarding revamping the education system, adding that the bank has recently asked for holding a conference in Egypt on boosting education in the Middle East and Africa to give the participating countries firsthand information about Egypt’s success story in this domain.

In 2018, all Egypt’s 55,000 schools had started to apply the new education system for the kindergarten and primary school students by providing new curricula in accordance with Egypt’s vision for sustainable development 2030.

The upgraded curricula are a 100 percent genuine Egyptian product – which have been developed by the Education Ministry affiliate Center for Curriculum and Instructional Materials Development (CCIMD) in tandem with key international education institutions from the US, Finland, France, Singapore and other countries, Shawki stated.

The newly-developed educational books aim to boost the Egyptian identity, the minister said, pointing out that these books will work as Egypt’s investment in the education sphere for the coming 50 years.

The development of five academic years curricula � out of the total pre-university 14 academic years- have been finalized, as the completion of the curricula for the remaining nine academic years will be expedited in order to make them ready within three years according to presidential directives, Shawki said.

He added that the new education system has been applied for 6.5 million kindergarten and primary school students.

The ministry has finalized the technological infrastructure of all state’s secondary schools alongside a platform to moderate teaching provided by the Knowledge bank for secondary school students, Shawki said, adding that some 1.3 million tablets have been distributed to the students of grades 1 and 2 in the secondary level nationwide.

In 2019, the ministry inaugurated 41 Egyptian-Japanese schools across 20 governorates, Shawki said, pointing out to a plan under which more Japanese schools will open during the coming period.

Besides opening 11 applied technology schools, the ministry has increased the number of students with special needs at schools from 70,000 to 120,000 students in 2019, the minister noted.

As for the Education Ministry’s competitions for picking competent teachers, minister Shawki made it clear that the state’s administrative apparatus has suspended appointments nationwide, hence, the teachers hired through the online competition will sign temporary employment contracts.

Last year’s competition has yielded three-month-long temporary employment contracts with 36,000 teachers, he added.

Currently, the ministry seeks � through an ad posted on its website – to sign one or two-year-long temporary employment contracts with 120,000 teachers who will be subject to Egypt’s labor law, the minister said.

As for partnership with international institutions, Shawki said that the ministry possesses the largest number of partnerships compared to other state’s sectors. Egypt’s Knowledge Bank has 33 partnerships with international intellectual institutions, including Discovery Education, National Geographic, Pearson Assessments, the World Bank, the FAO, the JICA, the UNICEF and the UNESCO, he said, adding that these institutions work on promoting Egypt’s new education system and contribute to the educational revamp process.

Meanwhile, the minister shed light on his ministry’s current partnership with 25 fellow Egyptian ministries towards cooperation in the upgrade of the education system.

The ministry maintains daily contact with the Health Ministry to be briefed on the latest developments of the contagious novel coronavirus, Shawki said, adding that all precautionary measures have been adopted by the ministry to ensure the safety of the students across the country.

Source: State Information Service Egypt