CAIRO—The Egyptian government last week withdrew a parliamentary bill to reform the country’s secondary education system after widespread criticism, but said it would present a new draft soon.
If voted into law, the bill would have replaced the current practice of assessing students on the results of their final-year exam and instead take into account their grades at the end of each of the three secondary academic years.
It would also enable students to take secondary school exams electronically and would allow them to sit them to sit for exams more than once. The first time would be free and a fee would be charged for subsequent attempts, but the draft law did not say how much.
“We … presented the idea of multiple exam attempts despite the effort and cost it entails on the ministry, because it is in the best interest of the student,” Tarek Shawki, the minister of education, posted on his Facebook account.
He said the ministry was “studying legal alternatives” and would resubmit the bill to the Council of Ministers with amendments and then to the Senate “within weeks.”
The minister’s policies have always been the subject of criticism, from his decision to allow the use of digital instead of traditional textbooks (see a related article, “Egypt Debates Introducing Electronic Textbooks”), to the transition to online education and conducting exams electronically due to the coronavirus pandemic, and finally to the recent draft reform bill.
Proposed reforms of the secondary education system go back to when Shawki took office in 2017, but it has taken longer than expected to implement changes. The recent transformation to e-learning was made possible by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. (See a related article, “Coronavirus Outbreak Forces Arab Countries to Consider Long-Ignored Online Education.”)