Mommy Diaries: The Problem with Private Schools in Egypt



I’ve got to admit that we’ve been lucky when it comes to our kids’ behavior at school. The worse complaint I’ve received so far is that Z Money won’t sing on demand or that L Boogie’s perfectionism sometimes takes more time than it should. And I am so totally okay with that. Kids don’t need to perform on demand like circus monkeys.

A lot of my mama buddies haven’t been so lucky. They’ve had to change schools and nurseries to accommodate to their kids. I know these kids, so let me tell you that there is nothing wrong with them, but the real problem is with these fancy-shmancy schools that can’t handle normal, active children.

Or is it that they choose not to handle them to lighten their load? Nurseries are now recommending therapy and counseling for kids that just need a little more attention from their teachers. Mothers are stuck shuffling their kids all over the city and paying ridiculous fees just to ensure their little ones get into these elite schools that barely hold a candle to regular public schools abroad.

This is the problem I’ve been seeing here in Cairo. We are giving these schools too much damn importance that they are now expecting the parents to do all the work for them. Waiting lists, the necessity of foreign passports, having to pay in foreign currency… madness! It’s like we’ve switched roles. Parents are bending over backwards to serve the schools when it should be a partnership between the two. Schools and homes should support each other and work together to reach their common goal, creating functioning members of society.

child01I don’t care if society thinks it’s the best nursery in Egypt. If they can’t handle your child, they suck. The whole point of schooling is to help integrate children into society. And if your supposed preschool is failing miserably at helping my child make friends, then you are not doing your job.

If your establishment is unable to make my child love learning, then not only are you failing this child, but a whole generation of thinkers and our future. Your establishment is either seriously lacking in professional teachers, or the administration is too busy counting money to actually guide their educators in the right direction.

Please don’t take this lightly. You don’t get another chance with kids.

This is the 21st century. We now know enough about how kids work that medicating them or pushing them to the back of the class are prehistoric practices. Some kids need to be able to move around to learn. Some kids need to rock back and forth. Your job as an educator is to find that magic trick. Create a safe environment for these monkeys to be the best that they can be, not push them out the door, or throw the responsibility into the lap of the parents.

Another problem with these esteemed institutions is the blind following they’ve acquired over the years. Your children had a great experience? Good for you. Does that mean you will now never question their practices? Sheep. Oh, your child wasn’t accepted? You must not have breastfed him enough. Did you co-sleep?

These schools need to constantly be held accountable for what they teach our children. We need to be able to always question their decisions and we might disagree with them. But this blind faith is what is destroying the experience for others. Teaching an easy kid is nothing. Connecting to a more complex child is what we should aim for.

Parents and schools need to work hand in hand at helping the children grow. Discipline, academics and social skills are all things that we should all be fostering together. Put your feet down mamas and make sure these institutions understand that it takes a village to raise a child!




WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss Rant of the Year: Questions We Have for Egypt’s International Schools.