International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Egyptian Education in Times of Social and Political Unrest: Crisis or Serendipity?
Stacie Rissmann-Joyce

This paper will look at the impact that different social and political crises had on the provision of K-12 education in Egypt during the academic years of 2009-2012. Clearly every crisis is unique, but crises can be managed and mitigated through the development and application of comprehensible strategies. The crises that Egypt experienced frequently required hasty responses from school personnel. Such immediate changes forced alterations in policies, procedures and personnel responsibilities. Change was often threatening to many; flexibility was a requirement during these crises. The past three years forced the Egyptian schools to experience the calamity of: (1) the H1N1 “Swine Flu;” (2) the volatile January 25th political revolution; and (3) tense strikes by teachers, transportation and other public employees. Reactions to these urgent situations resulted in a variety of school emergency measures to: restructure instructional delivery; reorganize security measures; and revise health procedures. The goal of this research is to examine: (1) how much instructional time was interrupted during these episodic crises and how each type of school addressed the disruption; (2) the reactions of all in the educational community; (3) how safety and security issues were tackled; and (4) how curriculum was provided. The theoretical framework is one of inquiry. This process has the aim of ascertaining facts, resolving doubts, and contrasting problem-solving methods and results. An open-ended questionnaire completed by school administrators will provide the data documenting the effects of the crises and resolve of the schools to resume the year’s educational curriculum within a safe and secure environment. This methodology lends itself to the qualitative development of paradigms connecting an array of educational elements. The findings will confirm that the concept of a crisis can be both a threat and an opportunity for educational reform. A comparison between government, international, and private schools’ crisis management reactions and procedures are only part of Egypt’s education revolution. Experienced character education situations, increased instructional technology skills, and student participation in community service activities surfaced from hidden curricula to recognized contextual encounters. Alteration of instructional strategies, unified disposition of students and faculty, and compassionate parents developed, in spite of cancelled classes and student activities, numerous calendar revisions, high temperatures, bus hijackings, country-wide curfews, and the appearance of weapons. Reform efforts directed by school personnel and the Ministry of Education continue to encourage Egypt’s Education Revolution. The future democratic election activities may also prove to be serendipitous catalysts for educational reform. Investigation will continue.

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