Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Saturday, 20 December 2008

Egypt teacher tried over beating

Islam Amr Badr, photograph from Al Masry Alyoum newspaper
Islam Amr Badr died in hospital after being injured (Photo: Al Masry Alyoum)

An Egyptian mathematics teacher has appeared in court in Alexandria accused of beating an 11-year-old to death because he did not do his homework.

After using a ruler, Haitham Nabeel Abdelhamid, 23, allegedly took the boy outside the classroom and hit him violently in his stomach.

Islam Amr Badr fainted and later died in hospital of heart failure.

Observers say the case has been seen as a shocking reminder of the failings of Egypt's state education system.

The incident, at Saad Othman Primary School on the outskirts of Alexandria in October, caused national outrage.


Islam Amr Badr's classmates gave evidence on Saturday, describing how the boy was hit by his teacher during a maths lesson.

The problem is the teaching and the teachers because they cannot find good teachers
Amr Badr Ibrahim
Dead boy's father

They said he was being punished for not having done his homework.

The court also heard from medical staff who examined the boy in hospital and a doctor who carried out a post-mortem examination.

The boy had two broken ribs, and stomach injuries which caused a sharp drop in his blood pressure and heart failure, says the BBC's Yolande Knell in Cairo.

Mr Abdul Hamid has said he only meant to discipline his pupil and did not mean to hurt anyone.

Reform 'on way'

The Egyptian education minister is expected to be called as a witness during the trial, which has been adjourned to Sunday.

Islam's father, Amr Badr Ibrahim, says others should stand trial with his son's teacher.

"The problem is the teaching and the teachers because they cannot find good teachers," he said.

"The minister of education should be the first person to be accused - how can he agree to let such a young man teach children?"

In the state education system, young, inexperienced and under-resourced teachers often struggle to control classes of 60 to 100 children.

The Egyptian government says it is bringing in education reforms - including new teacher testing.

It is also trying to tackle violence in schools and has issued new statements on the prohibition of corporal punishment.

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