Egypt postpones school exams until after mid-year vacation over COVID-19 concerns

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Map of Egypt. Selective Focus.

The Egyptian government on Thursday decided to postpone the first-term exams in all schools including universities until after the mid-year vacation over concerns of a second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.

People wearing face masks walk on a street in Cairo, Egypt, on June 12, 2020. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

“The new measures have been taken to protect the health and safety of all educational workers including students, teachers and other staff,” the government said in a statement.

The mid-year vacation is scheduled to start from January 16 and run until February 20, according to an instruction by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

According to the directive, classes should continue remotely from home during the coming two weeks starting January 2, and the exams of the grade 10 and 11 of high school would go online.

Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, spokesman of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, told Xinhua that the decisions aim at cancelling the in-class education while maintaining the learning process.

The decisions, however, are subject to renewal depending on the health conditions in the country, said Magda Nasr, a member of the Education, Scientific Research Committee in the Parliament.

The decisions wouldn’t impose any negative impact on the educational process with the availability of alternatives such as electronic platforms and educational channels, she noted.

On December 20, the Egyptian ministry of education decided that school attendance could be optional for students for the rest of the term.

Egypt reported 1,411 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, raising the total tally in the North African country to 136,644, with a death toll of 7,576.

Meanwhile, assistant Health Minister Noha Assem said Egypt has officially entered the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic after a rapid rise in cases over the past month.

On Sunday, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly ordered the cancellation of all New Year celebrations, urging authorities to strictly enforce the mask mandate that applies to all public transportation and indoor public spaces.

Madbouly ordered an on-spot fine of 50 Egyptian pounds (US$3.18) for all violators who do not apply the precautionary measures and do not wear face masks starting January 3.

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