A decision by Egypt’s Education Ministry to replace four educational channels with two new official state-run channels has divided Egyptians, despite the move reducing current broadcasting costs by 50 percent.
According to the Ministry thesechannels have very low viewing figures, despite disproportionate broadcasting costs estimated at around 22 million EGP.
“Closing these channels won't harm anyone, neither morally nor financially,” the education body claimed.
According to government claims, the decision was based on polls and surveys amongst students, teachers, parents and civil society organisations concerned with educational issues in Egypt.
Many have criticised the Education Ministry, accusing it of trying to Egypt’s economic woes at the expense of students and parents from poorer backgrounds who rely on the channels as an alternative to over-subscribed and expensive private tuition.
Others claimed the decision contradicted government claims to advance learning in Egypt. One critic claimed the Education Ministry was only looking to “appoint supervisors for toilets.”
Engineer Adly Kazaz, a Ministry adviser, told Arabstoday the new channels would cost between six and seven million EGP, almost 31 percent of present-day broadcasting costs across four channels.
An Education Ministry spokesman claimed: “The Ministry is seeking to provide better services at lower cost.”
He added that the education body will be broadcasting learning programmes on video-hosting website YouTube, until the launch of the new channels.