CAIRO: It seems that the thanawiya amma saga will not end this year as first category students continue the university application process this week.
One parent of a thanawiya amma (national secondary certificate) student, Ehsan Moharram, has pressed charges against the Minister of Higher Education Hany Hilal, for issuing a decree on July 12 reducing the quota of students eligible for medical school this year, reported independent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm in its Thursday issue.
Moharram is demanding the court repeal the decree, which would reduce the number of prospective medical school students by 15 percent.
“The minister did not issue this decree on his own, it was issued following a court verdict which ruled in favor of the Doctors’ Syndicate, a source inside the Ministry of Higher Education told Daily News Egypt.
According to the source, who preferred to remain anonymous, the syndicate had filed a lawsuit against the Supreme Council of Universities, headed by Hilal, demanding a reduction in the number of students accepted in medical school by some 12 to 15 percent.
The court ruling, which was issued in September 2007, states that the number of students should go down from 10,500 to 3,500.
In an effort to decrease the number of applicants the syndicate released a statement earlier this month urging parents not to pressure their children into enrolling in medical school and to advise them to apply to other schools needed in the job market.
“The medical profession is exhausting and studying medicine requires a lot of money while the conditions are deteriorating and the salaries are low, wrote Dr Hamdy El Sayyed, head of the syndicate, in the statement.
Thanawiya amma students and their parents aim for the highest grades possible to secure a place in a good university, the definition of “good being medical or engineering schools.
“People want these schools because of the social image associated with it. Being a doctor or an engineer automatically puts you in this high standard in society. However they are not considering the demands of the labor market right now, the principal of Sheraton Heliopolis Language School, Fatma El-Hout, preciously told Daily News Egypt.
“With this decree we are also trying to change the misconception in our society that medicine and engineering are good while all other careers are bad, people have to start considering what the market needs when they are applying for universities, explained the ministry official.
When the Ministry of Education reportedly raised the requirements for the top universities in order to decrease the number of applicants this year, citizens started questioning the government’s motives behind this with a majority saying the state wants to push more students towards joining private universities.