CAIRO: On his talk show “El-Beit Beitak Wednesday, renowned journalist and TV host Mahmoud Saad called on the Minister of Education to step down in reaction to the death of an 11-year-old student at the hands of his teacher.
“I demand the resignation of the Minister of Education. This is the only appropriate response to this crisis, Saad said during an interview he was conducting with Amr Badr, the boy’s father on terrestrial Channel 2’s popular nightly talk show.
Islam Amr Badr, a student at Saad Othman Primary School in Alexandria, died last Sunday after being kicked in the stomach by his 23-year-old mathematics teacher.
Saad said that this incident only adds to a string of problems with the ministry, citing the cheating scandal during the thanawiya amma exams and the overall deteriorating education system.
He addressed Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, asking him why this minister is still in cabinet. “What are you waiting for? Saad asked on air.
In an official response to the tragic incident, Minister of Education Yousry Al-Gamal condemned the “school violence phenomenon that reached its peak [with Islam’s death].
Al-Masry Al-Youm daily reported that Al-Gamal denounced this “phenomenon during his visit to Ahmed Zuweil Preparatory School.
“I ask the schools’ board of directors to play a positive role in eradicating this phenomenon. I also ask families to make sure that their kids are raised on good manners and are aware of our morals, Al-Gamal said during his visit, adding that violence in schools “will not be tolerated.
Moreover, Reda Abou Serae, the minister’s assistant, told the press that the Ministry of Education will continue to follow up on this incident and that an official letter has been sent to all schools “prohibiting the use of violence in schools.
During his interview, Badr said that no ministry or government official attended his son’s funeral or visited his family.
In related news, the Right to Education, a non-governmental organization, also called for Al-Gamal’s resignation, and asked the government to take action against him and the “deterioration of the education system under Al-Gamal’s leadership.
In an exclusive interview on “El-Beit Beitak, Badr recalled Sunday’s tragic incident.
“One of the school teachers called me and told me to come to the hospital because my son Islam is sick and the school transferred him to the hospital, he said.
When he arrived at the hospital, he was met by a crowd of teachers, who told him that his son fell and that “no one touched him.
After seeing the bruises on his son, Badr rushed to the police station and filed a complaint. Shortly after, a relative contacted him and informed him that his son had died.
One of Islam’s colleagues revealed later that their 23-year-old teacher was responsible for his death.
Badr places the blame on the ministry for allowing the 23-year-old to be a teacher in the first place.
“Did the Minister of Education interview this young teacher to know if he is capable of teaching students who are only 12 years younger than he is? Did the ministry’s branch in Alexandria interview this teacher? I don’t think so, Badr said.
“I ask President Mubarak to tell me what he would do if what happened to Islam had happened to one of his grandchildren?
In other news, Alexandria saw the deaths of two students Wednesday after they were hit by buses on separate occasions.
Fakhry Al-Sayed Saleh, 6, was hit by a public bus while trying to cross the street. The student’s father held the bus driver, Hisham Ibrahim, responsible for his son’s death.
Also, Basmalah Mohamed Hassan, a seven-year-old student was hit by her school bus after it dropped her off at her house.
Ghada Sobhy Ahmed, the bus attendant, claimed that she had walked Hassan to her building and closed the gates herself.
Hassan’s father told Al-Masry Al-Youm that he will file charges against the bus driver and the school.