The parliamentary bloc consisting of Al-Wafd and Hamat Al-Watan rejected a draft amendment to the Education Law submitted by the government during its discussion in a plenary session held on Tuesday.
A number of parliamentarians rejected the education bill submitted by the government, which increases the penalty for students dropping out of school and increases the fine from 10 pounds to EGP 500 pounds as a minimum and EGP 1,000 as a maximum, in addition to being deprived of some services and public utilities.
“Instead of looking at and developing the educational system, we are surprised that the ministry comes with amendments to impose fines on parents,” said MP Amr Darwish.
“Instead of developing the infrastructure and motivating students to go to school, we impose fines and distorted amendments that violate articles of the Egyptian constitution.”
“There is no room to talk about the amendments except to reject them, and we call on the ministry to assume its responsibility to develop the educational system, including educational buildings, schools, teachers, and books,” Darwish added.
Meanwhile, MP Fakhri Al-Fiqi — the Head of Parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee — said that he shares the committee’s opinion on the suspicion that the bill is unconstitutional and affirmed his rejection of the bill.
He also stressed that that the education sector is one of the most important sectors that need structural reform.
Al-Fiqi also pointed out that there are other pathways to alleviate poverty that may lead to a decrease in the rate of dropouts, such as development projects like the Decent Life Presidential Initiative.
“I say to the Minister of Education ‘You are not here with us on the ground,” said MP Mohamed Al-Husseini, referring to the deteriorating conditions of schools and the inability of teachers to do their job, stressing the rejection of what he considered “a tax on the oppressed.”
Meanwhile, MP Hossam Al-Husseini said that he rejects the bill, noting that the applicable law imposes a fine of EGP 10 in the event the student is absent for 10 consecutive or separate days, and the government is aiming to double the amount.
He stressed that exaggeration does not solve the problem, explaining that the Education Committee proposed in a dialogue with the government a vision to solve the problem of dropping out of education.
On her part, MP Martha Mahrous said that “the government lives in a virtual world,” considering that the government is separate from society.
She referred to the suffering experienced by the Egyptian student in the educational system, adding that “the government comes with a hypothetical draft law that has nothing to do with reality and discusses the absence of students and a penalty of a fine of up to a thousand pounds, which makes matters worse for repeat offenders.”
“This opens a new system of corruption. Who determines whether a student’s absence is an acceptable excuse or not?”