Thursday, July 17, 2008

Egypt's Ministry of Education Will Not Refuse Admission of Baha'i Students

According to an article published in Cairo's Rose Al-Youssef newspaper published two weeks ago (4th of July), "Egypt's Ministry of Education affirmed that acceptance of students into Egyptian schools will not be conditioned on their religion, but the only necessary condition that will be adhered to is citizenship." [emphasis added]

The article which was titled, "[Ministry of] Education: Section of Religion [on IDs & birth certificates] is Not a Barrier to Admission of Students to Schools," referred to an announcement that was made by Dr. Redha Abu-Sareyh, first deputy to the Minister of Education. The article states that the Deputy Minister pointed to the fact that "Egyptian schools cannot refuse the admission of any student based on his religion, but the only condition is Egyptian citizenship."

The article continues by stating the following:
He [Dr. Redha Abu-Sareyh] clarified that Egyptian schools during the current year has accepted "Baha'i" students, or those with the symbol (--) instead of the word Christian or Muslim, remarking that this crisis began when the parent of a student requested that the school issues him an official certification that he is a Baha'i, which cannot be issued by the school because it is outside the scope of its responsibility.

He also said that if the students need an official certification confirming that they are Baha'is, it is their responsibility to resort to the Ministry of Interior because it has the specific authority [to do so]....

Based on this announcement, the official position of Egypt's Ministry of Education, concerning the admission of Baha'i students to schools, is very clear. They cannot be denied admission based on their religion.

This development must be seen as a very important step towards the normalization of the status of the Baha'is of Egypt. The Ministry of Education deserves respectful recognition for its firm stance on this critical issue.


  1. That is great news to hear back from the Ministry of Education on their position of admitting Baha'i children into public schools.

    We hope to see it happening in September this year; accepting students regardless of their religion.

  2. Let's see how good they are in keeping their promise... We have a saying in the USA any deal is as good as the paper it is written on...

    You may interpret it any way you wish..

  3. Bilo,
    This is not a change in policy, is it? The problem is that the students can't prove citizenship without valid documentation -- and they haven't, yet, such documents. It would seem that this will be used as an excuse for refusing them admission until such time as ID cards are available to them.

  4. Reed,
    Actually, this has been a concern because some of these students have no birth certificates, and many of the parents do not possess the new national ID number or the new ID cards. It remains to be seen how the Ministry will reconcile this matter in view of the question of citizenship.

    All of them, though, are "authentic" Egyptian citizens and their status cannot be denied. They are law abiding and have been citizens for several generations, just like any other citizens. All the parents have Egyptian birth certificates and their children must qualify as Egyptians.

  5. Terry,
    Also, in the east they pride themselves on the word of honor--even more so than "paper."

  6. Bilo,
    Unfortunately, the children without a state-certified record of their birth have no real proof of parentage, hence no proof of citizenship. True, modern testing could prove parentage, but it is unlikely that the state would provide, or accept, such testing.

  7. Although somewhat unofficial, they do have record of birth from the hospital stating who the parents are. In Egypt, the child, in addition to his or her given name, officially must carry the father's name and grandfather's family name as second and third names. This is how lineage is established in Egypt.

  8. So the question hinges on what "proof of citizenship" the MOE will require! Let us hope the MOE will not follow the lead of the the M of the Interior in procrastinating to give Egyptian citizens their birth rights!

  9. Some children have the old paper birth certificates, a few might be included in their parents' Egyptian passports. The ones in question are those born since 2004 who do not hold birth certificates under the new computerized system, whose only proof of citizenship is their hospital/doctor birth record.

  10. please you must know till now waht dr reda said it is only for media & the bahai students till now is not addmited to schools & we have childern now 7years with out birth certificat & so did not accepted in schools at all & dr reda didnot spoke about all please bilo not all publishing thing is right specially governemntal newspaper

  11. One cannot assume what the motives of the Ministry are. Nevertheless, they need to be given the benefit of doubt. The fact that it was published in a "government-controlled newspaper" is very significant, and the Ministry can be held to its word. Every bit of such statements can ultimately benefit the oppressed.

    The next step is to test it--after their recent statements--and see if they are indeed true...this would be the ultimate proof of their words. Never mind what they say or what we think they mean.

  12. Even though the Ministry's official position is in favor of the Baha'i children, the actual implementation of this is still not possible. Until this day, and because of complications that are different from one case to the other, some Baha'i children are unable to join schools or at least have to go through many troubles to join one.

  13. The Ministry's recent statements, however, might provide an opportunity to demand that the Ministry converts its words and stated policies into action. The Ministry's public words are very clear and it can be held legally accountable for their implementation.

    The Baha'is of Egypt have been submitted to many obstacles and barriers to their deserved freedoms and normal living, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of hopelessness, but barriers can be overcome by their continued courage, tenacity, and unrelenting pursuit of their rights. They have always done so with dignity and respect for others, and with their positive and hopeful attitude even when faced with such untold challenges.


Your opinion is valuable. Please share your thoughts.