Private tuition booms due to alleged swine flu reports.

Private tuition booms due to alleged swine flu reports.

The Egyptian government has denied widespread rumours that educational institutions would be closed in November due to allegations of H1N1 infections. In recent weeks Egypt’s 18 public universities have intensified efforts to keep swine flu at bay. 

 Health authorities in the country of 80 million people have reported around 1,200 cases and three deaths. Some schools have been ordered closed after reporting swine flu cases.

The increase in H1N1 infections appears to have fanned parents’ fears and persuaded them to send their children to private tuition classes – even though universities have reported only a few infections among students. However here are reports that the attendance rates at schools and universities have exceeded 90%.

Universities have rescheduled lecture timetables to cut class density and announced the adoption of additional preventive measures against swine flu. But parents have chosen to exhaust their tight household budgets, and send their children to the banned private teaching centers where there are allegations by parents that “Lecture halls are still poorly ventilated due to the large numbers of students attending them.

Technically, private lessons are banned under Egyptian law. But in recent years private tuition has been mushrooming nationwide, costing Egyptians around LE16 billion (nearly US$3 billion). To circumvent the ban, private tuition centers set them up in residential buildings as recreational facilities or video game venues.

Despite the ban parents have opted to send their children to the banned private tuition centre were one parent has asserted that “It is better to pay extra pounds for my son’s private lessons than put his life at risk.”