After the commissioners’ reports came in their favour, the Court examines appeals of the excluded teachers who passed the “30,000 teachers” competition

Press Release

15 April 2024

On April 16th, the Administrative Court in Abbasiya will begin looking into 106 appeals submitted by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) against the Minister of Education’s decision to disqualify teachers who passed appointment tests. The tests were part of the “30,000 teachers” competition the Central Agency for Organization and Administration (CAOA) called for in July 2022.

This is the first batch of appeals submitted by EIPR and previously examined by the Administrative Court’s Board of Commissioners. The board submitted its reports in which it recommended that the plaintiffs be entitled to be appointed to the position of assistant teacher and that the administrative authority be obligated to pay the case expenses.

The competition was part of a government plan aimed to appoint 30,000 teachers to fill the gap in teachers in Egyptian schools. However, a large number of those who won the competition were surprisingly disqualified, obviously for discriminatory reasons, in violation of the constitution and law. These reasons had to do with obesity, height, pregnancy, recent labour, or failure to pass medical, physical and mental fitness tests, all of which were held at the Military Academy in Cairo under the academy’s supervision.

In its capacity as an agent for 106 disqualified teachers (94 females and 12 males), EIPR submitted the appeals to the Administrative Court of the Ministry of Justice at the State Council. The disqualified teachers took tests in 17 governorates, namely Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Sharkia, Gharbia, Kafr El-Sheikh, Suez, Ismailia, Dakahlia, Qalyubia, Menoufia, Beheira, Beni Suef, Fayoum, Sohag, Qena, and Aswan. 50 of them were disqualified due to obesity, 28 due to pregnancy, and 28 for failing the assessment tests.

The Administrative Court and its Board of Commissioners filed 86 reports in favour of those disqualified and postponed the examination of 20 other cases. The State Lawsuits Authority, in its capacity as the government’s lawyer, provided formal reasons for rejecting the cases, refusing to submit documents or reveal the procedures it had taken to exclude the appellants from appointment. It stated in its report that a plaintiff “had passed the electronic test held by CAOA, but she was disqualified for failing the tests held later, which were set by the competent ministry”.

The Board of Commissioners refuted this in its reports, which all came in favour of the plaintiffs and were based on the announced conditions of the competition and the fact that the plaintiffs met them. One of the plaintiffs, as well as all others, stated in her appeal that she “applied for the position of an assistant teacher, and passed the first test (the electronic test) and all other tests”. It was decided for the winning teachers to take mental, physical, and educational tests. The plaintiff passed all these tests and was just waiting for the appointment decision to be issued and to start her new job. However, on 4 October 2023, she was surprised that she was disqualified by a decision from the Minister of Education.

The appeal added that “passing the tests was only a prelude to the appointment decision and the announcement of that decision, something which was applied to the plaintiff. The administrative authority did not respond to the subject of the lawsuit. It refused to provide the documents on which it relied as to why the plaintiff’s name was not included in the contested decision, despite the fact that she was one of the winners. The examination of the lawsuit was postponed more than once. The administrative authority did not provide a detailed statement of all the procedures that preceded the aforementioned recruitment competition, the aspects of preferring the appointees over the plaintiff, and the reason for disqualifying the plaintiff, despite the fact that these decisions and procedures are decisive in the case in question.”

EIPR calls on civil society organisations and unions to stand in solidarity with the disqualified teachers. It renews its call for the competent authorities to issue a decision to appoint all winners, including those who were disqualified despite having passed the legal stages of the competition, and to cancel the additional tests and training courses held at the Military Academy, as it is not a concerned party and has nothing to do with recruitment at the state’s administrative apparatuses. These tests violate constitutional rights to equality, prevention of discrimination, equal opportunities, and work for all citizens.

Background about the competition:

On 2 July 2022, CAOA launched a competition to hire 30,000 teachers nationwide to meet the education sector’s human resources needs. A total of 28,176 applicants won the competition, representing 94% of the total target. The winners enrolled in qualifying psychological and educational programs prepared by the education directorates across the nation. They also passed the medical examinations prepared by the health ministry.

In a move unstated in the competition's official announcement, the minister of education forced the winning applicants to attend training courses prepared by the Military Academy without explaining the reason for that or the reason for postponing the contract with the winners.

Indeed, the winners enrolled in three-stage training courses as follows:

In the first stage, the winners underwent medical examinations at the Military Academy. Those who passed the examinations were asked to move to the second stage, physical fitness. However, pregnant women, those who gave birth recently, and teachers with anaemia were exempted from joining this stage, provided that they take the assessment test directly without going through the second stage.

The second stage had to do with physical fitness. It included several exercises, such as running, jumping, push-ups, sit-ups, and balance. At that stage, all those who failed to reach the levels specified to pass the exercises were disqualified.

The third stage included an assessment test in the presence of a representative of the Ministry of Education and military officials.

On 4 October 2023, the minister of education announced the disqualification of thousands of those who had won the ministry's earlier competition. They were disqualified for failing to pass the medical, physical fitness, and assessment tests held at the Military Academy, despite the government’s urgent need to hire teachers to improve the educational process.

According to the lawsuits filed by EIPIR, the administrative authority violated the constitutional principles. It refused to appoint the plaintiffs as assistant teachers and deprived them of their constitutionally guaranteed rights. EIPIR stated that "the administrative authority should have abided by the constitution and encouraged winners with the highest grades, instead of refusing to appoint them on discriminatory grounds that contradict the constitution, something which requires the annulment of the contested decision". It further explained that the involvement of a non-competent body (the Military Academy) and granting it the power to set illegitimate tests “constitutes an abuse of power, as the appealed decision violated the principle of equal opportunities and established discrimination against women".