The Egyptian government says it is fast-tracking the development of e-learning technology for the next academic year. This comes as authorities put in place the country’s COVID-19 coexistence plan, reported English-language daily newspaper Daily News Egypt.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the reason behind the proposals to implement e-learning is to prevent students from gathering at educational institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Madbouly held a meeting with the education minister, higher and scientific research education minister, and the minister of communication and information technology on Monday.

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According to the prime minister, Egypt had put in place plans to expand e-learning technologies even before the outbreak of the coronavirus, but shifted to distance learning at the onset of the pandemic, when regulations limiting people’s movements were put into effect to limit the spread of the virus.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has also issued directives for the system to be expanded, wrote Daily News Egypt.

Minister of Education Tarek Shawki said his ministry had been investing in e-learning and distance learning capacities before the global health crisis emerged, but that the coronavirus pandemic had increased citizen’s acceptance of remote learning. He said his ministry had significantly invested in infrastructure as well as digital content and curricula.

Shawki added that the ministry also has an educational platform and virtual classes for which 13.5 million students and 1.3 million teachers from schools all over the country have registered.

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The ministry went on to say that the new academic year will incorporate a hybrid approach that will see face-to-face as well as distance learning.

-ANA; Editing by Yaron Blecher