“Above Density”… How did “Education” train us on nepotism and open the door to bribery? — Egypt 360

A whirlpool in which you will see yourself if you try to transfer your son or daughter from one school to another. It is a fatwa invented by a legal advisor to the Ministry of Education in 2018. This fatwa gives the minister the right to increase the density of classes in schools by 10%. With confirmation that it is not permissible to raise the density of school directors, educational departments, or the Education Directorate in the governorate above the prescribed percentage. Except with the written consent of the Minister personally.

All of this came after the crisis of the lack of classes to accommodate the increasing number of students enrolled in kindergartens. Or meet the many requests to transfer from private schools to public, experimental or official languages.

Economic conditions, private school expenses, and the failure to build new schools were among the parents’ reasons for transferring their children. In addition to moving in the place of residence.

From here came the journey to search for the magical visa for “Above Density”. As a passport to transfer the student.

Accepted visa

a story Transfers Between schools there is an old crisis that has been recurring annually since 1995 – the days of the late Minister Dr. Hussein Kamel Bahaa El-Din.

Muhammad Shams El-Din, a former school principal, says: “We used to receive visas from the undersecretary for political communication, such as (there is no objection to accepting the student) and we took the files directly from the guardian without referring to the administration.” He added: “The only visa in which we used to accept the student without regard to the prescribed density rate is the one that comes from the minister personally with a well-known phrase, which is (the student is accepted with the statement).”

Thus, the situation in transfers and admissions remained with all the ministers of education after Hussein Kamel. With the exception of the days of Dr. Ahmed Zaki Badr in 2009. He refused to sign the recommendations and warned the directorates to abide by the instructions issued in the annual periodic book regulating transfers.

Converting to over-density classes

Fewer schools and a bigger economic crisis

With the worsening of the economic crisis in recent years and the lack of schools, and the minister’s advisor’s fatwa to increase the density of schools, the journey of torment begins for the guardian to transfer his son from one school to another. Zahran Selim, a lawyer, says: “We are going to the directorates, acquaintances, and the Citizens Service Office for the People’s Representatives in search of a way to obtain an “above density” visa from the minister’s office.”

Over-density visas

Over-density transfer visa
Over-density transfer visa

“I lived this journey of torment last year.” Haitham al-Sayed – a guardian says it. He added: “3 months ago, I got this minister’s visa, until God helped me, and I took it through a parliamentarian from Agouza. To enroll my son in the Orman Experimental School in Dokki. I took a visa (there is no objection to accepting it). And when I submitted it to the school after it was stamped by the directorate and the administration, they rejected it because there were no places and the densities were too high. A school official told me, “We only accept (over-density) visas. I went back to the representative’s office, and a few days later I got a visa (there is no objection to over density).”

He adds: “I came back with the visa, and they said I must enter the Experiments Committee in the administration. Because she is the one who searches for all visas above the density and determines those accepted in a list sent to the school. I preferred to go to the administration every week to find out the decision of the committee. I finally agreed a week after the start of the study.”

Just more powers for the minister

Transfer visa from the powers of the Minister
Transfer visa from the powers of the Minister

The legal advisor’s fatwa “was not intended to be used to accept students.” According to Hamdi Lashin, a former director of the educational administration, the goal was to give the minister the authority to increase the rates prescribed for classes. Due to the lack of new schools and the large increase in student numbers. To the extent that some schools operated three periods to meet the densities.

One of the ministry officials – who declined to be named – said that this fatwa led to the occurrence of “a big business from some officials of the current ministry.” By exploiting their positions to make huge profits as a result of selling “acceptable” visas to citizens at prices up to 5,000 pounds per application. And private schools have 10,000 pounds from the school to allow them to accept a student above the density.

Corruption of transfer visas

“Visa corruption starts at schools,” according to Mahmoud Fawzy, a guardian.

He says: “I registered my son’s data on the electronic transfer website of the Directorate of Education in Giza. For transfer from a private school to a public school within the same North Giza Educational Administration. When I asked at the school about the required papers, they told me that the school was full and the transfer would be rejected electronically.

As I was leaving school – says “Fawzi” – someone approached me and whispered to me: You must find someone who will get you an “above density” visa from the ministry. I told him I didn’t know anyone in the ministry. He said, I know someone who can deliver to the officials, but he takes 5 thousand pounds for the request. I refused because I originally transferred my son to my difficult financial circumstances. Therefore, I do not have 5,000 pounds to pay for transportation.

“Business visas” were not only in schools. He reached the educational administrations, says Mahmoud Mujahid – the guardian of a student. He says: “I went to the Dokki Educational Administration to extract a case statement. Someone sitting next to the administration door asked me if I wanted to transfer my son from a school. He spoke to me about the visa and that he knows people to help me. But I sat him down and walked. Because I didn’t want to convert. I just wanted to show my son success.”

Amr Mahmoud – another guardian – said: “I submitted a request to the Citizens Service Office of one of the representatives of the Bulaq El-Dakrour and Urban District (in Giza) to recommend the transfer of my two sons Youssef from the Future Language School to the Gamal Abdel Nasser Experimental School in Dokki. A week later, the representative’s office called me and told me that the minister’s approval had been obtained. When I went to the school with the visa, they told me that the school is too dense, and the visa is not obligatory.”

He added: “Relatives advised me to go to the Dokki district deputy office and submit another application. I did that. A week later, the visa came after the deputy’s recommendation (he accepts more than the density). I submitted it to the school after the approval of the Experiments Committee in the administration.”

blow up equality

Undermining the principle of equal opportunity
Undermining the principle of equal opportunity

Dr. Soheir Abdel Salam, a member of the Senate Education Committee, says that a super-density visa helps solve an urgent problem for students who want to transfer to public schools. This is due to the circumstances of changing the place of residence or economic conditions.

She explained that the visa helps to accommodate students in the absence of places for them and meets their urgent needs.

But Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Latif El-Tahawy, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine in Benha and a member of the House of Representatives, believes that a high-density visa undermines the principle of “equal opportunities for students.” Because there are parents who cannot obtain a visa. “There is no one left in the Ministry or Parliament. What are they doing?” He stressed that the visa “is a back door to corruption and nepotism, and the minister is supposed to not approve it.”

Dr. Hassan Shehata, a professor of education in Ain Shams, refuses to accept students who are already over-density. “This uncontrolled amount of transfers leads to an educational disaster and an increase in the densities of classes in experimental schools. Consequently, the interaction within the classroom and comprehension decreases, and it is difficult to control the students.”

Community contribution before conversion

Donations to schools to accept the transfer
Donations to schools to accept the transfer

Ahmed Ibrahim, a lawyer, asserts that the guardian who wants to transfer his son from one school to another is “exposed to bargains.” Once from the principals of the distinguished “experimental” public schools under the slogan “community contribution”. Before expressing the school’s opinion of approval or rejection, they ask the guardian: What contribution will you make to the school?

From here begins a series of needs for schools: “Air conditioning. Coldair. printer. computers. Paper and paint boxes. carpets Iron and aluminum doors. And other requests listed by school officials. If the guardian refuses, the officials will respond (there is no place above the prescribed density).

This is acknowledged by Ashraf Salloma – Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education in Giza.

He says, “It was there in the past years. But after the electronic transfer was implemented last year, the situation is different.” He adds: “There is no longer a direct introduction to the school. We have published a warning to parents on the directorate’s website and banners in educational departments to prevent giving any money to schools permanently. He appealed to parents who go to school directly to abide by the rules. It is that school transfers are done electronically only. And through the directorate’s website for all levels of education, official and official languages, and official distinct languages. The paper transfer (manually) is only considered for special education and technical education.

He explained that the results of the transfers will appear electronically on the same website, the first of next September. He pointed out that the guardian’s choice of a school with densities on his responsibility is not considered an approval to transfer to it. Only after the conversion result appears. Where the stage of submitting the file to the school begins. It is the stage in which the guardian deals directly with the schools. It is prohibited to collect or pay any sums under any denomination.

Density crisis and electronic transfer

Electronic transfer
Electronic transfer

After the emergence of the densities crisis and the emergence of the principle of donations and community participation, the Ministry of Education resorted to electronic transfer, according to Mohamed Attia – Director of the Education Directorate in Cairo.

He said: “The directorate opened the door for transfers between public schools and private and experimental public schools at all levels of education until mid-August. Through an electronic transfer link. We have made transfer terms between schools available electronically only between different departments. It is from an Arab special to an Arab government. It is special languages ​​to demo languages ​​and featured. Or to public schools in Arabic, and the transfer to the private one or from outside Egypt, that is, the returnees from abroad, is paper-based and there is no electronic transfer for them. It is not allowed to transfer from Arab schools, whether government or private, to experimental languages. It is not allowed to transfer in primary stages to public schools for those who did not obtain a kindergarten certificate from a private language school.

The main reason for the conversion

Ministry of education
Ministry of education

Economic conditions in recent years for parents have caused an increase in the number of transfers from private language schools to government schools. This is due to the inability to pay tuition fees.

Ahmed Sayed, a guardian, says: “The wave of conversion to experimental and private schools is Arab due to the high cost of fees. For example, I have two children in primary school in a language school. And because of the high expenses exaggerated – it reached 18,000 pounds per student. Except for the bus fee.

Ahmed Sayed refrained from transferring his sons, fearing that this would affect their educational level. “I decided closer to the same level for language schools. She transferred them to a national language school, the expenses of which were 10 thousand per student. Is it possible for me to act in the midst of this expensive?

The same is confirmed by Imad Waheed – the guardian of a female student at a private language school. He says: The increase in expenses increases every year without a legal basis. The school fees amounted to 14,000 pounds. The principal of the school is arguing that electricity, ambulances, security means, and everything else exceeds them. Therefore, they compensate them from the parents.

Waheed decided to transfer his daughter to an experimental school. To compensate for the difference in the educational level with private lessons.

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