Egypt’s schools started the new 2020/2021 academic year on 17 October, amid tight precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Parents have expressed their concerns about the starting up of classes, due to the pandemic, despite the Ministry of Education working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health to put in place strict precautionary measures. A nationwide educational plan has also been put in place to avoid a further resurgence of the pandemic as students return to in-person study.
Teams from the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department inspected many schools, on Saturday, to ensure the implementation of precautionary measures.
In a video posted on Facebook on Friday, Minister of Education Tarek Shawky reviewed his ministry’s preparations for the new academic year. In the video, he reviewed the educational process, the methods and sources that will be employed this year, and the ministry’s plan for any exceptional circumstances.
The Ministry of Education has put in place a plan to avoid crowding in classes, as students from Kindergarten to Grade 3 of primary school are to physically attend in-school classes four days a week. Students from Grade 4 of primary school to the third stage of secondary school are to attend school two days a week.
The plan includes strict adherence to social distancing, with each classroom having no more than 20 students present within at any one time, alongside the abolition of centres offering private lessons.
The ministry will also provide some basic educational methods for students to use due to the coronavirus pandemic, including: educational material offered via TV channels; a live broadcasting platform for virtual classes; as well as access to the online platform Edmodo and the Egyptian Knowledge Bank.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has launched a comprehensive campaign to raise awareness among parents and students on correct behaviours to avoid the spread of the virus. The ministry’s measures include sterilising classrooms, and committing to personal hygiene. Each school will have a health visitor and a doctor, who will follow up on the situation of students during the day.
In March this year, the Egyptian government decided to shut down schools and universities as part of its measures to curb the outbreak. All final exams were cancelled or postponed, expect for the high school leaving (Thanaweyya Amma) exams.