Ministry of Education and Al-Azhar to discuss education reform

Joel Gulhane
4 Min Read
Banque Misr will fund an EGP 100m initiative donation of computers to schools. (DNE File Photo)
Al-Azhar and the Ministry of Education have agreed to work together reforming the education system. (PHOTO BY MOHAMED OMAR)
Al-Azhar and the Ministry of Education have agreed to work together reforming the education system. (PHOTO BY MOHAMED OMAR)

Al-Azhar and the Ministry of Education (MoE) have agreed to work together in order to reform the education system in Egypt. The reforms are to be implemented at the start of the next academic year.

Dr Mohamed Mostafa Gemeaha, the media spokesperson for Al-Azhar confirmed that representatives from Al-Azhar and the MoE will hold meetings “to discuss ideas to reform education in Egypt. They will discuss reforms concerning all subjects at all levels of education.”

Al-Azhar released a statement on their website saying “Grand Imam Dr Ahmed Al-Tayeb – Sheikh of Al-Azhar – confirmed the importance of reforming the education system in Egypt and the importance of avoiding the problems and obstacles that prevent this.” The statement highlighted that one of the major factors which has contributed to “the collapse of the entire system,” is the lack of qualified teachers in Egypt.

“The meetings will happen over the next year so that the reforms can be implemented ready for the next academic year,” said Gemeaha. He stressed the importance of education saying “we are at the beginning of a new era of modern Egypt and education is the key to unlocking the door to the future. Now is the time for Egypt.” The statement added that the only way for Egypt to reclaim “its leading role in the region and the world is through educational reform.”

Emad Karim from the Youth and Development Consultancy Institute (Etijah) said “the approach to educational reform needs to change otherwise it will lead to the same failures as before.” He expressed concern over the time frame suggested for the reforms, saying: “if they are planning for reforms they need to allow for more time for it to be effective.”

Al-Azhar has had much influence on education in Egypt, as an authority on the teaching of Islam and Arabic language. Gemeaha said, “Statements that say that Al-Azhar should not be involved in educational reform are wrong. Al-Azhar is an essential part of the education system.” He stressed that Al-Azhar and the MoE will work together and depend on each other in reforming the education system.

Karim said, “it’s a good thing that they are a part of the process, but I am not sure if they have the capacity to lead the reforms.”

Karim called for a more inclusive approach to educational reform saying “they need to open the space up for public debate about it. It should be a participatory process including students, teachers and parents. All the stakeholders should have a role in the decision making.”

The statement also revealed that the MoE and Al-Azhar have agreed to develop centres for educational research, educational evaluation and examinations. This is in order to “keep pace with the needs of the community and to benefit from research and studies prepared by the centres and put it in to practice.”

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Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane
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