Following the resignation of Sherif Ismail’s cabinet on Monday, all eyes are on a possible new education minister, as the acting one, Tarek Shawky, gained huge admiration due to his innovative vision in applying technology in education, as well as huge outrage for ending the experimental language schools, the only decent choice for middle-class students.
Shawky, who was named education minster in February 2017 in the country’s latest cabinet reshuffle, is strongly expected to be re-appointed in the new cabinet, as his promising plan to improve public education in Egypt is fundamentally related to Egypt’s Vision 2030.
He has presented himself as “an expert in technology in education” and the one to improve public education in Egypt due to his longstanding academic record in science, engineering, research, and teaching in the US. He received his PhD from Brown University and served as the former director of UNESCO’s regional bureau for science in Arab states. He was also President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s senior adviser for education and science.
Many Egyptians seemed impressed with their new minister last year because of his support for modernising education.
Shawky developed several innovate initiatives, including the Knowledge Bank, an online digital portal that includes educational, research, and cultural resources for a wide array of users, and Teacher First, a training programme for teachers on using ICT techniques in education, which is now available for Egyptian teachers.
Meanwhile, he suggested a dramatic change to the thanaweya amma (secondary education) system to be implemented in September, which is modelsled after the systems in Japan and Finland. It will be divided into two sections: one focused more on arts and one focused more on science. The single national exam is being cancelled, and students will receive their final exams electronically on tablet devices provided to them by the ministry.
Last month, Shawky sparked outrage over his bid to end the public experimental language schools and unify the educational system at all schools, in which the curriculum is to be only in the Arabic language until the preparatory stage (seventh year). However, he walked backed that decision, stating the it will be applied next year at Arabic language and Japanese schools, as well as discussing the possibility of applying it to experimental schools in 2020/2021.