Parents taking their children to State-owned schools on the first day of the new school year were told to go home because the teachers were on strike.
The astonished parents were told by the headmasters that they couldn’t guarantee their children’s safety if they didn’t go home.
The parents complain that the striking teachers want a big pay rise and won’t back down until the Ministry of Education agrees.
Some of the teachers, who want their pay to be increased to LE3,000 (about $500) per month, also earn around $1,400 in giving private lessons in lucrative subjects like physics, maths, chemistry and foreign languages.
But this doesn’t mean that every Egyptian is wallowing in luxury. Many teachers are no more fortunate than many of the parents grumbling at the schools’ closed gates, who struggle to earn $100 per month.
Ironically, most of these families use most of their meagre income to finance their children’s education at school in the morning and at home when the private tutor pays his afternoon visit.
That is why these families are up in arms against the teachers, who have been accused of neglecting their duty and compromising the noble values of education.
Egyptian families, who rallied behind the revolution (many of them had sons who were martyred or injured during this great event), must realise that the private tutors are doing them a grave injustice.
The crisis would become even more serious if these parents were to resort to violence to compel the teachers to go back to the classrooms.
All of this is another big challenge for the Government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, which cannot meet the financial demands of those involved.