Statements by Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman on privatising the education sector have raised concerns among a wide network of experts and stakeholders.
Salman stated, at the Euromoney conference on Monday, that both the health and education sectors should be privatised to ensure their improvement and development. This would be in line with the government approach allowing for the private sector to own and operate power stations.
Kamal Moghith, an expert and researcher with the National Centre for Educational Research, said that engaging the investors in the educational procedure is “illogical”. He said the educational procedure consists of laws and philosophy that investors have to respect.
“I am worried that the track of education can be diverted to support specific schools or sectors, while ignoring others,” said Mogith. He stressed that laws have rarely been applied over the past 40 years, which led to increasing levels of corruption.
Mogith also expressed his concern regarding the adoption of the same approach in teaching hospitals, explaining that investors can build their private hospitals “but they shouldn’t intervene in educational hospitals, which mainly cure poor people”.
During the Monday conference, Salman said: “We can’t fulfil all the needs of education, so you have to invite the private sector by liberalising prices.”
He did not, however, elaborate on his plans to privatise the health sector. Salman said that the domestic and foreign private sector have to participate in building schools and partaking in the educational procedure, as it will play the regulatory role rather than an investor’s one.
Salman explained that liberalising the education sector’s tuition prices will open up chances for investors, either domestic or international.
Minister of Finance Hany Kadry Dimian said earlier that privatisation of public sectors can occur in the form of partnerships, whcih target improving the institutions’ efficiency and making them more market-oriented.
In April, in a conference to discuss the law of universities’ management and developing educational hospitals, Minister of Higher Education Wael El-Degwi rejected the idea of privatisation of teaching hospitals and separating their management from universities and colleges of medicine.
The Ministry of Higher Education spends EGP 8bn annually to organise work at teaching hospitals, which the ministry wants to develop, rather than “privatise”, according to the minister.