Thursday, 1 April 2010
Lessons from Egypt
ASWAN - From today's Egyptian Gazette, an English-language daily in operation for 130 years, I bring news of how not to behave when the education minister pays a visit. Apparently, Zaki Badr, the education minister decided to pop in to a model school, El-Khulafaa el-Rashiudun preparatory school in Helwan, on Monday to see how things were going in the school recommended by his ministry. Finding the school empty of students and teachers, Mr Badr promptly ordered the staff to be transferred to 'remote educational facilities' accusing them of 'laxity and incompetence'. Now the 93 staff are staging a strike in protest at this 'humiliating decree'. Principal El-Khuli told the Gazette that he had been late himself because he had to attend a physiotherapy session, and complained that he had been given no money by the ministry. But Egyptian cynics say the minister should not have been surprised to find no learning going on in Halwen: Mohammed Amin of Al-Wafd said that most youngsters were now educated in privatre tuition centres (where parents pay the teachers to do the job that they should be doing in the state-funded schools!).