Loyalty to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi: Criterion for new teachers selection in Egypt

31

“Civil jobs are a right for citizens based on competence and merit, and they are entrusted to those who hold them to serve the people, and the state guarantees their rights, protection and performance of their duties in the care of the people’s interests. It is prohibited to discriminate between employees in the application of the provisions of the law based on religion, sex, or any other reason.”

Egyptian Civil Service Law

The Ministry of Education and the Egyptian security services have disregarded the provisions of the constitution, law, and charters, which prohibit discrimination on religious, sexual or political grounds, as it has been announced that security investigations will be conducted on applicants for teacher positions to determine their religious and political backgrounds, and the exclusion of those who belong to religious or political currents that have differences with the regime of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Dr Reda Hegazy, Deputy Minister of Education and Technical Education, said that a security inquiry would be conducted for applicants for teaching jobs before being appointed, explaining that this step is different from the criminal status sheet, which shows the crimes for which the applicant was convicted. Another official in the ministry said that the inquiry would be “security and ideological” to show the extent to which the applicants for the vacant jobs were linked to religious currents that the government considers “extremist.”, stressing that the ministry is interested that the new teacher has a “normal behaviour and not extremist, or has extremist tendencies, whether religious or non-religious or has hostility with the state, so will not transfer it to the students.” This means that the security services will be the central controller in appointing new teachers. This new procedure strengthens the regime’s iron grip on the people. It opens the door to corruption due to the absence of any real oversight over the work of the Egyptian security services. Furthermore, it places the criterion of “system security” above the standard of competence and scientific merit.

The education sector preceded other sectors, for which political and intellectual loyalty to the regime became a prerequisite for entry. Apart from the security sectors such as the Ministry of the Interior and the Armed Forces, which is a prerequisite for their admission, judicial appointments in Egypt are mainly subject to the control of the security services, as the papers of applicants for judicial positions are subject to a security examination by the Public Security, National Security, General Intelligence and Administrative Control, as well as the intelligence services conducts tests for them to measure loyalty and religious, political, and sexual tendencies. After that, a decision is issued by the Presidency of the Republic to appoint someone who passes these tests and checks and at the same time who has strong relationships.

Military Intelligence also examines companies that apply to work on projects undertaken by the army and excludes those who have not proven their loyalty and affiliation with the regime. Therefore, retired army commanders are the ones who establish contracting companies and run businesses worth billions of pounds with the army in the absence of a competency and merit criterion. This is an extension of many of the measures taken by Sisi’s regime to ensure the exclusion of anyone suspected of opposing it from public positions, the latest of which was the issuance of legal legislation in August 2021, allowing the dismissal of employees working in the state’s administrative apparatus because of the suspicion of belonging to “terrorists.”

This law permits the dismissal of an employee working in the state “if he is included on the lists of terrorists organized by the provisions of Law No. 8 of 2015 regarding the organization of terrorist entities and terrorist lists,” which are lists prepared by the security services and on which those deemed to oppose the regime are listed without even a court ruling is issued against him, whether from leaders Muslim Brotherhood, liberals, jurists, independent unionists, or even soccer players (such as the beloved football star Mohamed Aboutrika).

These measures, which strengthen the security forces’ grip on the people, come in light of the regime’s call for a “national dialogue”, which purpose is to solve the nation’s rifts and resolve its political and economic crises. This confirms that the regime’s rhetoric raises one direction while its repressive tools continue in a completely different direction, and the actions speak louder than words, as the saying goes.