Ever since the COVID-19 Virus hit Egypt, the Egyptian Government has undertaken a number of strict measures to prevent the rapid spread of the disease. With approximately twenty million students enrolled in schools and universities across the country, the Education sector has been one of the sectors that has been most affected by the pandemic.
In March 2020, the Egyptian Government decided to shut down all schools and universities and have all teaching undertaken virtually. The Egyptian Ministry of Education launched an online portal where all the teaching material was uploaded and where the students submit their work to be reviewed by teachers. On the other hand, the Ministry of Higher Education ensured that all lectures were taught online and allowed each faculty to mandate the method of teaching.
In order to minimise physical interaction between students, the Egyptian Government took additional steps pertaining to the examination methods to be applied.
As a matter of fact, the Government decided to introduce new examination methods across the educational system. Save for graduating students, both school and university students were required to submit research papers based on the material taught in class and online.
The decision to alter the examination methods comes as part of the implementation of the Government’s “Vision 2030”, which has the modernisation of the educational systems as one of its key pillars.
Challenges to the online system
While the increased use of technology across the different educational levels represents a milestone in Egypt’s strategy to improve its educational systems, it also gives rise to various issues and challenges, namely legal ones.
Firstly, with all the teaching material being offered online, it has become more accessible to a wider audience. This places such material at a higher risk of being misappropriated, having its intellectual property rights infringed or reproduced illegally.
Secondly, both the students’ and teachers’ data being shared online is at risk of being appropriated or misused. In fact, students’ records and research papers constitute confidential information that, if leaked, could pose a serious problem for the Government which is responsible for safeguarding this sensitive information.
In conclusion, although e-learning has been introduced as a temporary solution in light of COVID-19, it has proven to be a success, and as such is likely going to remain part of the education system, even once the pandemic ends. That being said, the legislative framework needs to be updated in order to conform with the requirements of this new system. More specifically, the Government should work on promulgating new laws that regulate e-learning platforms, protect students’ data and guarantee that the intellectual property rights of teachers and educational institutions are preserved.