Students back to school - Amr Mostafa Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Pinched by fees

Sun, Sep. 24, 2017
The Ministry of Education took action to control private and international schools' rising fees for this academic year.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


Not everyone who sends their child to a private or international school or university is wealthy. Parents are upset with the depreciation of the Egyptian pound and its negative impact on the tuition fees of schools and universities.

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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


Many families of Egypt's middle class, who send their children to private schools and universities that have pegged their fee rates to hard currencies [foreign currencies] are feeling the pinch of high tuition fees.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


“We are a middle class family,” Nada Ibrahim, a mother of two children attending a German school said. “The education of my children is a main priority to us; their education is more important than our food. We can stop buying them new clothes as long as we are providing them with decent education. We are investing in their education.”

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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa

Ibrahim says she and her husband, whose incomes are fixed in Egyptian pounds, do not want to take their kids out of school and do not have any alternative for paying the tuition fees with these rates as they are expressed in euros or dollars and paid in their Egyptian equivalent.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


“The schools has to cooperate with us. Not everyone who enrolls their kids in international schools is a millionaire. We are a normal middle class family,” she concludes.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


Ibrahim elaborated, “My husband is considering the option of undertaking another job so we can our children can continue their education in their current school. Many of my friends have pulled out their children from the school as they found themselves unable to pay its high fees.”


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


Parents like Ibrahim have a good reason to be upset. Deputy Head of the Owners of Private Schools Society, Badawi Allam, pointed out that private schools demanded from the Education Ministry to be allowed to increase their tuition fees between 20-35 percent to accommodate the rising costs. Allam said the schools also demanded an increase in bus fees, after oil prices recently increased.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


The increase is inevitable given the fact that these schools want to mitigate the negative consequences that they incurred due to the floatation of the Egyptian pound. Indeed, international schools with foreign staff members have been especially hit by the effects of the floatation. Parents fear that schools will place disproportionately high increases in their tuition fees.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


In this regard, the ministry has already decided the increase for private and international school fees starting this year will be limited. Minister of Education, Tarek Shawki announced that he has already placed a limit on the increases international and private schools have decided to put on their tuition fees.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


Shawki announced that international school fees will increase by 14 percent maximum, for the school year 2017-2018; and another 7 percent yearly, starting this year. He also announced that fees for private Arabic and language schools will increase by 7-11 per cent for each stage segment.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


Abeer Hani, director general of Private and International Education at the Ministry, said that Shawki issued Decree no. 173 for the year 2017, amending Article 5 of Resolution no. 422 for the year 2014.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


She explained that the decree stipulates that the increase would be 11 percent for schools with fees less than LE2,000; and eight per cent for schools with fees between LE2,000 and LE3,000; five per cent for schools with fees starting from LE7,000 and more; noting that the total number of private schools in Egypt are 6,664; among them 217 international schools and a remaining 6,447 languages schools.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


Hani stressed that international schools do not have the right to threaten parents that they will close down the school if they refuse the 35 per cent increase in fees. If a school wants to end its work, said Hani, it must wait until all students graduate; otherwise it will be subject to takeover by the ministry’s financial and administrative supervisory bodies.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


Hani added that the rules and mechanisms for collecting the fees are being developed; noting that the base year to be used for fee calculation is the 2015-2016 school year, before the floatation of the Egyptian pound. There is also a proposal to deduct the application and the registration fees from the expenses.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


“The minister refused schools demanding a 20 or 30 percent increase, stressing that the rate of increase should not exceed 14 percent for all stages at international schools, not only for newcomers,” said Hani.


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Students back to school - Amr Mostafa


The annual tuition fee increase rate for private schools for the next five years, and the increase rates, which apply from the 2017/2018 academic year has already been set. It ranges between seven and 11 per cent annually, depending on the size of the tuition fees.

Shawki has announced in a press conference mid-August that no fees should be collected in U.S. dollars or any other foreign currency. “Violations will make the school subject to takeover by the ministry’s financial and administrative supervisory bodies,” stressed the minister.

According to the Ministry of Education, about 20 million students were enrolled in schools around Egypt in the year 2015/2016. Fewer than two million students join private schools. In addition to some 52,000 public schools across Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country is estimated to have over a hundred of which are described as American or international schools.

Private and International schools which violate the ministry’s measures will be warned and notified to remove the violations. Further penalties will be imposed on the schools which will continue violating ministry’s instructions, such as putting them under the ministry’s financial and administrative supervision, preventing them from registering new students, withdrawing their licenses and closing them down.

Parents with complaints or questions on the new private and international school fees can call the Ministry of Education Whatsapp hotline: 01272584864.
 
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