School year starts in North Sinai after a month delay

Sinai has witnessed mounting violence against police and army personnel since the July 3 ouster of Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely-elected president, by the powerful military

School year starts in North Sinai after a month delay

Schools in North Sinai on Saturday welcomed students for the new academic year after a one-month delay due to the security turmoil in the province.

Unlike other Egyptian provinces, policemen were not seen around schools to avoid being targeted in militant attacks.

North Sinai Governor Abdel-Fattah Harhour described as "normal" academic activities in the schools.

Hassan Hegazi, a senior Ministry of Education official, said around 80 percent of school students showed up on the first school day.

Sources said that 80 percent of enrolled students attended schools in urban areas, while the percentage goes down to 60 percent in rural areas.

Only 50 percent of students attended schools in border areas, where the Egyptian army is carrying out operations against what it describes as "terrorists strongholds" in the province.

Sinai has witnessed mounting violence against police and army personnel since the July 3 ouster of Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely-elected president, by the powerful military.

The Egyptian army is currently carrying out what military experts are calling the largest military operation on the peninsula since Egypt's 1973 war with Israel with the stated aim of combating "militancy and terrorism."

Within recent months, scores of policemen and soldiers have been killed in dozens of attacks by unidentified gunmen, especially in the peninsula's volatile northeastern quadrant. This compelled education officials in the province to postpone the start of the new academic year for a whole month.

On Saturday, authorities have provided buses to drive teachers safely to schools in volatile areas as Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah.

Sinai local officials have decided to raise the number of schools days to six from five every week so that students can make up for lost time.

There are 198,208 students in Northern Sinai.

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Last Mod: 26 Ekim 2013, 13:19
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