CAIRO: Lobby group Teachers Without a Union (TWU) have again rejected claims by Education Minister Yosry El-Gamal that linking pay increases with assessment exams will improve the quality of teaching in Egyptian primary and secondary schools.
State-run Al-Ahram newspaper Sunday reported a 90 percent success rate in the assessment exams sat in August by, Al-Ahram claims, 850,000 teachers.
Official announcement of the results are due at the end of this week.
Head of TWU Hassan El-Esawy claims that “far fewer teachers sat the exam.
Protests were held inside examination halls at the time of the exams by teachers who labeled them “humiliating.
Teachers also staged a protest outside the Teachers’ Syndicate in August against the perceived failure of the state-controlled syndicate to adequately represent their interests.
“It’s not important how many teachers did or didn’t sit the exam, that’s not the problem, El-Esawy told Daily News Egypt.
“What matters is whether they entered these exams voluntarily, or were forced to do so: the majority of teachers who sat these exams did not do so willingly, he continued.
Teachers are demanding across-the-board pay increases not linked to testing.
TWU members are dismissive of El-Gamal’s contention that “the aim of a [new salary scheme] is not to increase wages because that will not serve the interests of the standard of excellence we are trying to realize.
“We’re not against excellence in teaching – we share a common goal with the syndicate in wishing to reach this standard, Naim Ramadan, a teacher from Dessouq, Kafr El-Sheikh told Daily News Egypt.
“We differ with the ministry in the way that this excellence should be achieved, which is through training rather than tests. We’re completely opposed to these examinations which are an abdication of responsibility towards teachers by the ministry, Ramadan continued.
El-Esawy insists that an increase in pay is essential to improving standards within schools.
“Roughly 60 percent of teachers live below the global poverty line. I’d like to see what civil servants would be able to do with LE 104 per month, how they would survive, and run a home, El-Esawy says.
“There can be no advancement in standards within education without addressing the issue of teachers’ pay conditions, he continued.
Some of the teachers who sat the examinations told Daily News Egypt in August the questions they asked were unrelated to their discipline and did not properly assess teaching ability.
In addition, they allege that cheating was widespread during the examinations, which they say were conducted in a chaotic atmosphere.
El-Gamal says that teachers who failed the examinations in August will have until next August the opportunity to re-sit them, following teacher training sessions.
Ramadan says that this differs to previous statements made by the ministry concerning re-sits, and indicates “confusion within the ministry.
According to El-Esawy, TWU will hold a conference at some point during the first 10 days of November during which the assessment exams will be discussed, as well as what he describes as the “chaotic start to the new academic year.
He alleges that some schools have still not received supplies such as books since the school term began in September