By Doaa Farid
Minister of Education, Mahmoud Abo El-Nasr stated on Thursday that the government’s decision to exempt public school students from paying the tuition fees this year will cost it EGP 700m which will be borne by the government, according to state-run agency MENA.
This came in light of comments made by the minister after a meeting headed by interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi.
Reda Mosaad, the head of General Education Sector at the Ministry of Education explained to the Daily News Egypt that the this is part of a package the interim government is adopting to alleviate financial burden off citizens. He said: “writing off tuition fees was among many suggestions from each ministry to reduce the burden on the normal citizen”
Mosaad said that although public school fees are “symbolic,” only 30% of the families managed paying them and 70% could not afford them. “So the ministry was automatically exempting those who are unable to pay,” he said.
“The fees were allocated for the student’s activities in school, but textbooks were always given for free,” said Mosaad.
However, Ghada Said, a mother of two daughters studying in public schools, said that she has already paid the tuition fees “We are paying EGP 75 for secondary schooling, and EGP 50 for my daughter who still attends primary school,” said Said.
Mosaad said that the government will return the fees to families who already paid them.
Mosaad said that this decision constitutes a burden on the government “especially in the current depleted economy”, but he said that social justice is the government’s current priority.
Maintaining social justice is among the interim government’s main priorities, said Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ashraf El-Araby in a press conference earlier in August, stressing that this is the first time an Egyptian government includes a deputy Prime Minister for social justice.
Walid Abdel Tawab, the head of the textbooks sector at the ministry said on Thursday that 91% of the total textbooks for the first semester exist within the stores, according to the official website of the ministry of Education.
Abdel Tawab also pointed that they have been coordinating with the security managers of educational directorates to maintain the security and safety for students.