By Marwan Kamal, contributor, EgyptianStreets.com
The following “A-Z” reasons were found after interviewing several teachers and individuals.
A) Poor teachers, willing to accept bribes, cut corners.
Teachers in Egypt are more often than not underpaid. This forces teachers to take up second jobs or be open to accepting bribes, usually from parents, to pass their children.
B) Crowded classrooms
It’s hard to find a country that doesn’t have this problem these days. However, Egypt is unique in this as it’s schools are not proportionality placed, forcing some parents to send their kids across town to find a large school in a majorly adult community.
C) No accountability
Unlike western and European schools, Egypt has no major accountability infrastructure: schools rarely have to report to their districts about numbers or grades, and dialogue between schools and the Ministry of Education is rare.
D) Grades based on repetition not understanding
While a lot of school systems do this, it doesn’t means Egypt’s is better. The system of grading by repetition is proven to be ineffective in teaching students concepts and causes a false sense of understanding.
E) Crowded class rooms
I put this here twice because of how large an issue this is. Rather than make room, schools turn students away and instead accept students whose families may be willing to “pay a little” to have their children enrolled.
F) Schools serve shareholders and owners first (little government funding)
This is more of a back room problem. most schools in Egypt have shareholders and owners to fund the schools. This can mean schools attempt to be profitable rather than a place of learning
G) Poor understanding of courses by teachers
The curriculum has been changing faster then national leaders and this means teachers are no longer up to speed on what they are teaching.
H) On average, kids have more important things to worry about.
-This isn’t a educational problem, but a national one. With many students being o\in the lower income bracket, they are often asked to work rather than study.
I) Lessons are often politically based.
Classes are often based on what the government decides people need to think, rather than what they should know.
J) Despite this, public school still have a tuition
Public schools have tuition fees due to a lack of funds from the government.
K) Tuition is not based on income and there are no low income subsidies
I can’t stress this one enough. A large amount of kids who could go to school can’t because of this one reason. The tuition may be relatively small however that doesn’t mean it’s still affordable.
L) Education spending is focused on university and high school
This is due to a lack of foresight by the education ministry. The government has decided that high school and post secondary are more important than primary school education – which isn’t necessarily true.
M) “Polite” education not practiced
Teaching kids by fear rather than respect. Some could argue that this is a more direct and effective method – however the violent nature promotes violence in the students’ lives.
N) Primary education is not relevant to students
When students are not engaged, their desire to stay in school is lowered. All school systems struggle to reach a good balance. Egypt is one of them.
O) Job prospects for high school graduates are little
This is also a unique situation to other third world nations. The lack of distinction and job prospects for high school graduates reduces parents’ willingness to spend the tuition when they could invest the money in something else.
P) Disciplinary tactics scare younger kids from going to school
This goes back to reason “M”. In western and European schools, students are rewarded for good participation and doing good work. While in Egypt (and other third world nations) kids are kept in constant fear of being disciplined physically (usually) for not doing work.
Q) Sharp increase in high school difficulty
For those who have been through the Egyptian education system recently, then they can relate to this. The peak of difficulty is extremely high. Egypt’s attempts to compete on an international level are in-vain, as primary school education does not receive enough attention.
R) No school bus system for most schools
Often over looked in North America, a mostly free or for little cost school bus system for rural students is non-existent in Egypt. Although buses exist, they are usually over priced and privately run, leaving lower income students to commute to school via public transit.
S) Students don’t usually have enough money for appropriate school supplies
A lot of parents deemed school to be important, so they make room in their budget for their children to go. However proper supplies are often out of reach.
T) Lack of money for modern tech, computers and printers, limit what the kids can learn
Whether we like it or not, the world is modernising and those who can’t keep up are left behind. Egypt seems to be doing just that.
U) Inappropriate density of schools.
I touched on this earlier. School density is a big problem. An example is the lack of public schools anywhere in eastern Alexandria, but the over crowding of schools in western Alexandria.
V) Constant changing of how things are taught in class
There is a lack of consistency, with the school year facing various changes in the teaching methods.
W) Sanitation and building quality doesn’t promote anything good.
This is again very over looked. When a building and its surroundings are not clean, they don’t promote cleanliness or good hygiene. Some experts say it can also prevent early development growth.
X) No student services programs
Although student services have mixed results, no services at all is a disadvantage. These services can include: an assigned police officer, career centres, credit recovery, and individual personalised plans.
Y) No counsilor or guidance teachers
Guidance counsellors are essentially “teachers.” They are there to help the students, hear their concerns, and assist them with any personal issues they may face.
Z) No consistency, cooperation, or coordination
When you switch schools and learn the same things again it causes problems. But hey, there are A-Y reasons to worry about first!