Back to the complete issue
Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Teachers could need to get licensed soon — and so could social media firms

Who’s teaching the kids — schools, private tutors, or TikTok? Education Minister Reda Hegazy yesterday told the Senate teachers may need to apply for licenses as part of reforms meant to improve public schools and curb private tutoring, a day after the country’s media regulator told the chamber it’s looking into new legislation meant to protect children in particular from harm caused by social media platforms.

A license to teach: The Education Ministry is drafting legislation that, if passed, would require teachers to obtain licenses to practice, Education Minister Reda Hegazy told Senators yesterday. Any penalties for teaching without a license would involve fines only and not jail terms, he added. The draft bill will soon be sent to the House of Representatives for discussion and a vote.

Wait, teachers aren’t licensed? There are currently no standard qualification requirements to work as a teacher in either public or private schools, with teacher training seen as primarily within the purview of academia. Hegazy last year suggested private tutors could be forced to get licensed; he later walked back the proposal amid a backlash from those who said it would only exacerbate the problem of tutoring replacing schooling.

Private tutoring is public (education) enemy no.1: Private tutoring is the biggest challenge to the education system, Hegazy said, followed by “a shortage of teachers and school buildings, crowded classrooms and stacked curricula.” He implied that low school attendance figures are the result of students skipping classes in their final years of primary and secondary education in favor of tutoring, saying that attendance in all other grades stands at almost 90%.

Tutoring costs Egyptian families EGP 66 bn a year, senators claimed, saying that an average family spends EGP 15-25k annually. The government’s per-child spend on public education, meanwhile, is EGP 12-13k — and in spite of this students prefer to go to a private tutoring center,” said Rep. Hossam El Khouli.

And none of that is taxed: Rep. Nabil Dibis called on the government to impose a 10% income tax on teachers who provide private tutoring, with the proceeds to be spent on improving public schools. Last year, the Tax Authority demanded that tutoring center owners start paying taxes, though the industry remains part of the informal economy and isn’t governed by legislation.

AND- Good news if you’re in grade four or five: The school curriculum for fourth and fifth graders will be cut down in the upcoming semester, Hegazy said.“We don’t want students to be lost in a maze of school subjects.”


Social media platforms will be required to apply for a license to operate in Egypt under draft legislation being drawn up by the country’s media regulator, Ahram Online reports. “The objective of this legislation is to stand up to the destructive ideas which these platforms disseminate,” said Karam Gabr, head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR), Gabr told the Senate’s Education Committee on Sunday. Gabr didn’t elaborate on how the legislation would be implemented or provide details of the bill.

It was a matter of time: MPs have called in recent years for more state controls on social media in the wake of the arrests of several popular TikTok influencers on content shared on the platform. TikTok was also in the firing line after a viral Throw Your Friend challenge in late 2022 led to a near paralysis of a 15-year-old student at a school in the country, while the Education Ministry warned parents last year of another viral “blackout challenge” on TikTok convincing users to choke themselves until they faint.

This is not the first time that the SCMR has attempted to regulate the industry. In September, the SCMR issued new regulations and licenses for online streaming platforms that require them to ensure their content “adhere to social values and morals.” It also required the platforms, including Netflix and Disney+, to “take the necessary measures” regarding content that goes against these regulations, without providing further details.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.