Saturday, May 26, 2007

Factory of Cheaters [Part 3]

Here we go again. This time I would like to expose some of the private language schools; specifically, the highly expensive ones which welcome the children of the nouveau riche. What I'm about to say can be stranger than fiction, but every single word of it is true.

Those schools are actually no more than a social club, where kids go to get even more spoiled and receive a certificate in the end of the year. It is a kind of new service for the rich, which aims to satisfy the customer to be able to keep his money flowing to them. Therefore, if you ever happen to go there, you will find fancy stuff which have absolutely nothing to do with education or its quality, merely for marketing. Like the full option cars, these schools have got luxurious buildings, swimming pools, tennis courts, horse tracks, cafeterias, conference halls …etc. They want to dazzle those rich parents and assure them that their loved ones will receive 5 stars treatment.

As you can guess, such a club is built to entertain. Something as serious as education will ruin the fun atmosphere, and they don't want to scare their customers away. If the kid goes home and complains to his parents, even on a false basis, the parent might then switch to another shop.. I mean school. That's why they make sure that the little angels will have their best time and in the way get whatever education they can through the day. Those students will have the chance to go on as many as 15 trips during the academic year! Their teachers aren't allowed to punish them in any way, even if it is by asking about their homework. Oh, how rude would that be! How can a teacher ask the student whose parents provide his/her paycheck? And what if this student was rude in class? What's the big deal, he's just a kid. And what if he didn't bring his schoolbag? It is his bag not your, he is free to bring it or not. And what if he doesn't attend your class? He has the right to walk about instead of sitting the whole day. It is his school, not yours. You have no authority over him whatsoever.

Now what about exams? Well, we trust them, we don't need to distract them by moving around while they are kind enough to take the exam. But even this is not enough, for none of them can help anyone else with any answers. What can be done? Then comes your role as a teacher. What are you paid for? Your job is to make sure all those students pass, and with high grades. Yes, believe it or not, that's a teacher's job at those schools. You have to make sure that every student has a report which will draw a smile on our dear customers' faces.

What about nationwide exams? Now we really got a problem here. Errr, how will those students pass their thanawya 3amma exams for example? The teachers who supervise those exams are outsiders, as well as those who grade the sheets. Can a business like that allow anything to jeopardize its profits? Of course they have everything carefully planned. I am sorry to say, that the teachers assigned by the educational zones to supervise exams at such schools are very... I don't know which adjective to use here. Excuse me, but I have to say this.. very poor and low-profiled. What happens is that those teachers will be generously hosted by the school, if you know what I mean. They have croissant and canap├ęs for breakfast, and soft drinks and hot drinks during their supervision. Now, you can guess how they pay back for this hospitality.

And the student, you might wonder, what will they do after graduation? They will get promoted to bigger supermarkets; namely, private institutes or universities. How considerate of you. Well, don't worry. They either work in the family business or use dad's connections to find a job. If you want something that is truly worthy of worrying about, it is the future of this country.


salama moussa said...

Dear wonderful writer Om Luji Hanem,
I am really astonished with what you had to say abt the business of private education in Egypt. I believe every word u said and I know how negatively that must have affected you (as u said b4 that u worked as a teacher and apparently u speak out of a personal experience). It is a real sad tragedy Madamme. The only good thing is that the education system in Egypt was lucky enough 2 have some one like u. Not only 3ando dameer but also highly talented in writing.
P.S. Excuse my short absence from ur amazing blog. The last two posts (el mofti and the studnet's death) were really too depressing to discuss.

Juka said...

That's painful.. painfully true, I sometimes tutor on the side and can assure you, they've learnt absolutely nothing... abyaaaaaad.

Om Luji said...

Dear Salama, thanks a lot for your comment. Sorry if I have depressed you with my previous posts. I had to let it out, you know. The business of private education in Egypt is destroying generations by selling them false certificates. I don't think the educational system was lucky for hiring me, for I have exposed them after all. When I left this place I knew they wouldn't bother, cause there are thousands there who will happenly do what I refused. They will go on with their business and will never grow short of customers nor partners in crime. I just did it to keep my hands clean. I thought that now the time has come for me to do something about it. I hope somebody gives a damn.
Thanks a lot for your compliment. Want to read your comments always.

Om Luji said...

It is very painful, especially when you realize there's nothing in your hand to do about it. Unfortunately education is a big sad joke in our country.

Arima said...

Interesting post. I went to a language school in Egypt and thought it was truly excellent...when I came to the UK I was well ahead of my contemporaries and found that I had a much more diverse linguistic background. Personally I think the langauge school is a great idea that should be made more widely available in Egypt and elsewhere. Multiculturalism is essential today

Om Luji said...

This post wasn't about language schools in general, but about a specific category of those schools which resemble a 5 stars club for the rich. The majority of language schools are very good. But recently, schools were found to be a profitable business by some people who don't know anything about education. I am here describing one of them.

Alina said...

OMG, that is even worse than Romanian private universities...I mean they have low standards, but still, they do not all tolerate cheating.

As for k12 private schools, they are very demanding from what I've heard, not sure though.

If I ever decide and afford to put mu children in a private school, I'd surely be results oriented: what does my kid know? As long as you treat him/her respectfully (not beating them, not making any discriminations etc), I expect you as a teacher to teach him something valuable.

I guess I do follow the American and Western European private school model here: rich or poor, you do have to study a lot to pass. No one is paying for fun at school, no one really concerned about their child's future! Connections and money are limited in the end...

Om Luji said...

Dear Alina,
Most of the private schools in Egypt have got high standards or at least moderate ones. What I was talking about in this post is a limited number of 5 stars schools which have been entering our educational system recently. I received my education at a private school, but the majority of us were of the middle class. Now, there is a kind of sharp class discrimination in Egypt. The very rich are building their own districts to live in, their own outings, their own summer getaways, and their own schools for their pampered kids. I happened to teach at one of those schools. They didn't know they chose the wrong teacher.

Anonymous said...


thanks a lot for providing the link to masr el youm radio. I never knew they broadcast on the radio. If you know any other radio stations that broadcast on the web then please would you put them up.


Alina said...

That is good news! And this is also proof money never makes you smarter....It only helps you buy stuff.

Om Luji said...

Glad to be of service. I know a couple of other online broadcasts, but they are no good.

I believe when it comes to education in Egypt, you've got to have money to get your kids into a good school. But you don't have to be a millionaire.

Deeeeeee said...

It is certainly a tragedy, I often wonder where I'd send my kids (eventually) for education, given that I believe that schools are venues of education! I think the only things we have left are the Deutsch schools. I just can't understand how people are willing to jeopardize the future of a generation to make some cash!

Om Luji said...

Finding a good school that has a true mission is in fact a very difficult task nowadays. Deutsch schools have managed to keep their good reputation. You can trust them with the education of your kids (eventually).
My advice to parents who are about to send their child to school is to spend enough time surveying schools. Then once there is have a short list, they should personally visit those schools on a normal schoolday, not just open days which schools announce to attract customers.
My daughter is only 1 year old, yet we've already started on this process. Being an insider made me have my suspicions.