Egypt Watch

Two students die in the beginning of the educational year due to congestion in public schools

Since the beginning of the new educational year in October, two Egyptian students died from overcrowding in public schools leading to quarrels over the desks of the classes.

The first one was Eid Mohamed Helmy Shehata, a 13-year-old student in Kafr al-Sheikh, who was transferred into hospital in full coma after being hardly beaten by other 3 students due to a conflict on the first-row desk in his class. Shehata died after 4 days in the hospital.

The second was Yasser al-Meligy, an 11-year-old student in the 6th of October city, who died after a killing knockout from a colleague that wanted to seize on his desk.

Both incidents showed the ever-deteriorating condition in Egyptian public schools due to the continuous pauperization of the public education system that does not get its constitutional share of the GDP in the governmental budget.

The density in some schools reached 120 students per class in the primary stage (from the first to the fifth year), according to official statements. The issue was publicly raised after the circulation of pictures on the social media showing the congestion of the classes with stacked dozens of students. This happens while the fourth wave of Covid-19 is still striking Egypt with since September. Some pictures showed students sitting down on the floor after all the desks were full.

The minister of education, Tarek Shawky, just banned photographing in public schools, while refused to make any statements or press releases to explain the case and the governmental measures to resolve it. “In the beginning of every educational year, pictures showing density in classes spread with outraging comments,” said Shawky in a TV interview, “We have to deal with such high densities in the classes because we suffer from a shortage of 250 thousand class, which requires EGP 120 billion, but the governmental budget allotted only EGP 12 billion to us.”

The last Egyptian governmental budget raised controversy due to the high allotments to debts’ pay off and interests and to the huge infrastructure and construction projects, with cutting of allotments to education and health sectors to about 1.5% of the GDP for each in violation of the Egyptian constitution which provides that both sectors must get 4% and 3% of the GDP respectively.