CAIRO: High school students will be signing in electronically starting from Sunday per a decision, which they have widely protested, to apply an e-attendance system at schools, according to a Thursday statement by the Ministry of Education.
The decision will oblige high school (known in Arabic as Thanaweya Amma) students to attend school; otherwise 10-point grade will be deducted from them over missing classes.
Thanaweya Amma is considered the gateway to universities in Egypt, during which a student’s future college is determined based on scores in standardized tests during the Thanaweya Amma year.
Since the test scores alone determine entry, many students skip school to find more time for studying and private classes, which they prefer over their schools’ teachers.
Last week, dozens of students protested outside the Press Syndicate demanding the new attendance system to be lifted. “If I attended school, then I would only have two hours per day to study, how come we study only two hours in Thanaweya Amma?!” Ahmed Mohamed, a student at Al-Saaedeya School, told The Cairo Post.
With a current lack of rules mandating attendance by pupils or faculty, according to previous statements by Education expert Ashraf Fadaly, many schools have reported classrooms empty of teachers and students.
The ministry aims to return back high school students to schools, with promises it will be hiring professional teachers.
Students who miss more than 15 percent of their classes during the year will be suspended. To be registered back again, suspended students will have to pay a fee of 1,500 EGP, which protesting students objected as “unaffordable for many of them.”
According to the ministerial decision, the task of monitoring students’ attendance will be assigned to a committee at each school, headed by its director. But, students still have the right to appeal the results announced by the committee.
The decision also stipulates that the names of absent students should be recorded in the ministry’s official books for the grading system.
Around 500, 000 students sat their Thanaweya Amma exams nationwide last year.