The crisis in production of textbooks marks the start of the current academic year in Egypt. The students are already filling up the classes but many have yet to get hold of their textbooks.
Ministry of Education and a number of Egyptian Printers are struggling to deliver the school books on time. Despite all their efforts however it seems that delay in delivering the printed textbooks is inevitable.
Ministry officials and printers who are facing mounting pressure to deliver and distribute the books pointing fingers at each other over the delays. However all parties agree on one thing. The Egypt’s exceptional circumstances make planning very difficult.
The crises started earlier this year when the former minster of education Ibrahim Ghunim decided to award the printing contracts based on tender rather than direct purchase. Printers accuse the ministry that tendering process was marred by unfair competition and was conducted under dubious circumstances. The unstable political situation and street protests also exacerbated an already difficult situation.
As if this was not enough Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr the Minister of Education announced that half million printed textbooks which include The four finger Rabaa sign as a symbol of protests and a paragraph about the ousted Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi should be destroyed and reprinted again.
On a more encouraging note and in a move to prevent a similar crisis happening again, Chamber of Printing and Packaging Industries announced that in collaboration with ministry of Education draft versions of textbooks for next academic year have already been prepared and submitted for approval.