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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

May 27, 2010

The Stagnation of the Egyptian Educational System

The Egyptian educational system has been in a state of decay and deterioration for several decades. Traditionally, Egypt used to be the center of learning and enlightenment in the Arab world. It is unfortunate that drastic and negative decline has impacted educational institutions at all levels. This is attributed to (among other things) the fact that the government budget allocated to education is too little when compared with population growth. Such a budget cannot provide the academic requirements for the needed changes.

Recently, the national committee on education, scientific research and technology wrote a report critical of the education system and those responsible officials who are ignoring the negative impact of student demographic increases on the available physical learning facilities. In its 2001 report, the committee called for the construction and expansion of schools at a rate of 420,000 per year during the following 16 years (2001 – 2017) to meet the projected increase of students who will reach school-age.

Unfortunately, since then only 18,000 schools have been constructed (al-shrouk, May 9, 2010). This situation has lead to overcrowded schools where the number of students per classroom is estimated at 85 – 100. Such a high class density was criticized by Dr. I. Fawzi, a member of the committee, who pointed out that the government should be blamed for the deterioration of the quality of education at all levels in Egypt. He noted that the allocation of 10% of the national governmental budget to education should be at the least doubled to meet Egypt’s future challenge. He also criticized the government for asking the private sector to help build schools. There were 5,118 privately run schools as of the 2008-2009 school year. Nearly all these schools are located in big urban cities and are administered by foreigners. The student fees are very high and unaffordable for the majority of families to enroll their children in (almasry-alyoum, May 5, 2010).

Dr. Ahmed Z. Bader, the Minister of Education, noted that the committee’s report recognized that an educational crisis prevails in Egypt. He further pointed out that among other things, the limited educational budget didn’t allow for the needed physical expansion of educational institutions.

In my judgment, the most important requirement for progress and advancement in any society depends on its educational system. Since the government is not allocating enough money to meet the educational challenges, new taxes are needed. In a previous post, I pointed out that there are between 55-60 million cellular phones in use in Egypt. One to two Egyptian pounds per month as an excise tax will generate over one billion Egyptian pounds per year that could be exclusively allocated to increase the budget for new school construction. Such a small financial tax should not create a burden for cellular phone users. It is unfortunate, however, that a vast amount of government elected officials lack the ability to think and are not playing a constructive role in their society.

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