Participants in Egypt's National Dialogue reflect on introducing Supreme National Council for Education



Wed, 31 May 2023 - 02:12 GMT


Wed, 31 May 2023 - 02:12 GMT

CAIRO – 31 May 2023: The National Dialogue's session discussing the bill submitted by the Cabinet on establishing the Supreme National Council for Education took place on Wednesday where almost all participants approved the principle but put forward dozens of suggestions to make it more effective.


General Coordinator of the National Dialogue Diaa Rashwan said that the goals of establishing a Supreme National Council for Education is setting strategies for developing pre-university education, tertiary education and scientific research; following up on their implementation; and, periodically assessing and updating curricula.


Rashwan pointed out that the bill suggested making the number of board members 19, noting that the council's board members should not be involved in implementation to avoid conflict of interest.


Member of the National Dialogue Board Talaat Abdel Qawy shared the same reservation, as he criticized making 12 out of the 19 board members of the council ministers. He also urged including the elimination of illiteracy in the council's mission as it is not acceptable that its percentage in the population is 25 percent, incurring many problems such as overpopulation


Academic Alaa Shams El Din stipulated that the council’s missions must be guaranteeing the independence of universities, preparing cadres who would lead such establishments, bolstering international cooperation with foreign counterparts, and revamping technical education in Egypt.


Former Minister of Health and Population Ashraf Hatem asserted that all supreme councils concerned with higher education must be merged under the prospective Supreme National Council of Education.


Former Education Minister Ashraf Al Shihy, representing Guardians of the Homeland Party, stressed that the council’s main goals must be making Egyptian education a world-class one, increasing the number of students in technical education, and promoting fields of study that are highly needed in the labor market.


Representative of the Free Egyptians Party Samuel Essam said that the council must set a plan to modernize the infrastructure of all schools nationwide and not just that of technical education schools. That is in addition to embedding certain values and principles in students, and not just focus on developing curricula


Member of House of Representatives and Coordination Committee of Parties Youth Leaders and Politicians Amira Al Adly pointed out that the bill of the council must include sources of funding, criteria of selecting members, ways of coordinating with civil society, and plans for enhancing the skills of school teachers


Former Dean of Teaching School at Cairo University Sammy Nassar asserted that the council must represent recipients of education by including members of civil society, politicians, scientists and intellects


Chair of Reform and Renaissance Party Hesham Abdel Aziz praised the comprehensiveness of the bill regarding the role of the council. However, it criticized the absence of ways of qualifying teachers, measuring the outcome of plans to be implemented, and not making one of the board members the chair of the investment authority, who is important to put forward labor market needs


Member of the National Dialogue Board Gamal El Keshky stressed that the council must ensure sustainability so as leaders of educational establishments would follow plans without eliminating what was achieved under their predecessors


Member of House of Representatives and Republican Party of the People Amal Mostafa said that board members must include more experts than executives. She added that education must be dealt with through a comprehensive approach that prioritizes the rearing of the individual since the first day of school until their entry of the labor market


Member of National Dialogue Board Amr Hashem criticizes the absence of scientific research in the bill as well as suggesting budgets of educational establishments, and education laws.


Chair of the Teachers Syndicate Khalaf al-Zanaty asked for representation in the council’s board and that it convenes every two months instead of every three months. He added that the council’s mission must include reinforcing the national identity, consulting with teachers over various matters, and raising the awareness of teachers


Consultant to Higher Education Minister for Technology Education Ahmed al-Sabagh criticized that the tasks designated to the council’s chair tend to be more executive than focused on planning and evaluation.


Professor at Cairo University Nadia Gamal al-Din highlighted the necessity that the council ensures that education makes students capable of self-learning.


Deputy Chair of the National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Education for Azhar Education Raguia Taha stated that the council would unify education goals and visions.


Deputy Chair of International Council for Adult Education Seham Negm stipulated that one third of board members should belong to the government, another to civil society, and the last to various stakeholders.


Education Policy Expert Iman Raslan suggested using Taha Hussein’s book “The Future of Culture in Egypt” in articulating education policies


Former Supply Minister and Member of the National Dialogue Board Gouda Abdel Khalek underscored that allocations to education in the budget is just 2.1 percent, while it had to be double the seven percent indicated in the constitution and that the government had failed to reach so far.


Abdel Khalek also criticized the need for a security permit to make a guest speaker enter a university, noting it undermines the independence of educational establishments


Member of House of Representatives and Mostaqbal Watan Party Hossam El Din al-Mandoub said that the council must work on attracting foreign students to Egyptian universities, and making education compatible with not just local labor market needs but also the regional and global ones.


Member of the House of the Representatives Hani Abaza stressed that the way of assessing the skills of students must be revised.


Chairman of the National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Education Alaa El Din Ashmawy said that the authority approves the establishment of the Supreme National Council for Education.



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