Egyptian man sets himself on fire in protest against school textbooks

A man in Egypt’s north city self-ignited on Sunday in protest over school books.

The man’s son was not allowed to use the school’s textbooks until he had paid for them, police and education officials said.

The man suffered minor burns and was being treated at a hospital in Kafr El Dawar, a Nile Delta city, the authorities said.

Employees at the local school directorate put out a fire after a man set himself on fire, officials said. The man’s life was saved, according to officials.

A disciplinary committee will decide whether to suspend the head of a primary school for violating the education ministry’s directive to give students free textbooks, even if they haven’t paid for them.

Since the beginning of the school year in Egypt on October 2, a spate of violent or deadly incidents has occurred. Saturday’s self-immolation is the latest of them.

A stairway at a school in a Cairo suburb collapsed, killing one student and injuring 15 others as they rushed to class on the first day of school.

A schoolgirl fell from the fourth-floor window of her school in Cairo the next day, after being chased by a teacher to punish her.

A week ago, a girl passed after spending seven days in a coma following her teacher striking her on the head with a wooden stick in a town north of Cairo.

Physical punishment is not uncommon in Egyptian state schools, where teachers often resort to using rulers, wooden sticks, or even tree branches to strike students. Verbal insults are also common. Slapping or punching students, as well as verbal abuse, are all common.

State schools in Egypt have also been neglected for decades. They are overcrowded, lack adequate facilities, and many of their structures require urgent repairs.

Officials estimate that $700 million is required to construct 250,000 new classrooms to eliminate classroom overcrowding at schools.

Image Credit: Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash