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The protests in Egypt that have led to the president of 30 years stepping down is an event of huge global significance not only for Egypt, but also for neighbouring countries like Sudan, Yemen, Algeria and Israel, By extension it is having a deep impact on international relations. How huge the wave of change will be has yet to be seen.
The people of Egypt took to the streets to demonstrate against the president. They demanded his resignation and a transition to democracy. After 18 days of protest the president resigned and the people celebrated having got what they wanted.
Why do you think they want democracy?
What are the benefits of democracy?
What are the downsides of democracy?
Start by finding out how much your pupils know about what is happening in Egypt. Does anyone in your class know anyone in Egypt? Has anyone in your class been to Egypt on holiday?
Have they studied Egyptians in history lessons? Can they find Egypt on a map?
The people's uprisings against their government is not just happening in Egypt, but now also in the whole of the Arab world. "The Arab world" is a term used to describe those areas of Africa and the Middle East with large Arab populations. Is anyone in your class from one of these countries, or do they know someone there?
Show this 3-minute flim clip from BBC Newsround. It was made before the president resigned, but it explains that the people were protesting against poverty among people and corruption in the government, "People are poor and they don't have a voice".
It also explains that the government tried to stop the protests by shutting down the internet and suspending bus services.
(You can link this learning to teaching about using ICT to campaign for change. See ACT's February 2011 Theme of the month.)
In June 2010 Khaled Said (right), a 28-year-old Egyptian from the coastal city of Alexandria in Egypt, was tortured to death at the hands of two police officers. Several eye witnesses described how Khaled was taken by the two policemen into the entrance of a residential building where he was brutally punched and kicked. The two policemen banged his head against the wall, the staircase and the entrance steps. Despite his calls for mercy and asking them why they are doing this to him, they continued their torture until he died. There are many eye witnesses who have confirmed this.
Hosni Mubarak was president of Egypt for 30 years. This was not an uncommon occurrence in Egypt under his regime, but Khaled became symbolic of the brutalities, torture and ill treatment of the people at the hand of the state.
The role of social media
Under the rule of President Mubarak it was very dangerous for people to speak up or speak out against what was happening for fear that they too would become victims of torture and abuse.
People used Facebook, Youtube and Twitter to spread the word about what was happening. Facebook became a very powerful tool for communication and rallying support for the protests which became a revolution.
Background story: http://bit.ly/8YR4LA
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/elshaheeed.co.uk
What difference does it make to block the internet and suspend bus services?
Why did the government do this?
Why might Egyptians be living in the UK and not in Egypt? (Think about political reasons, economic reasons and social reasons.)
What would it be like to have to leave your country?
What is a political refugee?
What have leaders of other countries done to support the Egyptian people and/or the Egyptian regime?
Newsround's guide to to the protests in Egypt: who was protesting, what they wanted, and how it might affect the rest of the world.
"Men, women and even children have been protesting on the streets of major cities in Egypt, because they are not happy with the way their country is run." Newsround
There is coverage of the Egyptian protests - or revolution - in print and digital media. What can you find out about the situation from the media?
Amnesty International, the human rights campaigning organisation, have created a webpage about the Human Rights issues in Egypt. See Amnesty International on Egypt for film clips, images, information and opinions.
Monday: No-one would have thought on Monday morning that by the end of the week, we would be living in a different world. There had been some riots in the south, but Ben Ali’s regime had held a tight grip on the country for 23 years. Yet on...
Tuesday evening we heard that the schools were going to be suspended and on...
Wednesday the shops were boarding up for a general strike the following day.
Thursday the riots started in earnest. Across the city there was tear gas in the streets, buildings burning, shooting in the streets and helicopters overhead. We locked all our doors, wound down the shutters, filled the bath with water and tried to match the noise from the street with the news on TV. The president made some concessions and we thought it might be over on Thursday night.
Friday brought the news that the president had fled. Incredible! Crowds thronged in the centre of town, celebrating their victory, with jasmine tucked behind their ears!
Why might different news companies be reporting the events in different ways?
Why would they represent one side more than the other?
Whose "side" are they taking?
Why might other countries' governments (including Britain) have an interest in supporting President Mubarak's regime? Why might they want to support the people instead?
How can a government show their support or their opposition to the government of another countries?
Why could it be wise for a government to work with/against another government?
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and President Barak Obama of the United States of America (below).
Role play an interview with former President Mubarak where he explains why he wanted to stay as President and how he felt during the protest; then role play an interview with an Egyptian citizen about why he or she wanted democracy and regime change.
Draw a mind map of the reasons why the Egyptians revolted. Transform this into an information poster for Year 7 students to help them understand what is going on in Egypt and the Arab World.
Discuss in small groups how you would organise the protest if you were Egyptian? What could be the problems you encountered? (Think about the government closing internet access!). What would you say to other people to make them join you? How would you communicate your message? The teacher asks you to share your group's ideas with the rest of the class.
Now thinking as yourself, how would you organise a protest at home, in your school, in your local community or nationwide? What would you protest about? Why? Who would you be protesting against? Who could help you?
Teacher note: And see ACT's campaign toolkit for citizenship teachers.
Ask your class to use the internet to research the reasons for the revolution, ensuring they use a number of different sources. For guided research use the links on this page. For more able pupils you can ask them to use the internet more freely, but making sure they cite their sources.
To show the findings of the whole class or small groups, you can create a class website showing what they have learned about the revolution in Egypt and the protests in other parts of the Arab World.
Pupils can film role play interviews using their mobile phones or school equipment. They can write about the situation, find film clips from youtube, upload images, cartoons, their own work etc. Can they find suitable music?
This is great for sharing with other classes, showing at parents' evenings, linking to the school's website and not least for you to use as part of your assessment in Citizenship!
Radiowaves is a resource for schools to help you set up a class website.
If your students produce a piece of work as a result of this work you can level it. You can also level their participation in debate.
Schools must assess students in Y9 at the end of this academic year and give them a level that can be reported to parents.
The eight-level scale was introduced in the 2007 curriculum. At Key Stage 3 schools should therefore now be using the 8 level scale which has been reproduced in issue 28 of Teaching Citizenship. (ACT members can log in to see them here)
For KS4 assessment, the advice is to make use of the 8 level scale as with key stage 3 BUT there is no requirement to provide a level at the end of KS4 - only KS3. Also, it is important to ensure that teachers provide a report at the end of KS4 against progress BUT no level. There is guidance on the Citizenship Curriculum site at Curriculum for KS3&4 and at Planning and Assessment
The end of key stage statement is no longer used as we are now using the levels this school year.
How you end this learning depends on what focus you have taken and how much work you have done.
You could finish the class with an overview of why active Citizenship has been so important in Egypt and how the people toppled the government.
Or you could summarise why this learning in your Citizenship lesson has been important.
What if scenarios
What if we hadn’t done today’s lesson/this topic?
What if you weren’t allowed to know what we’ve learnt today?
What if we'd been learning in Egypt? How might the lesson(s) have been different?
What if everything I’ve told you today was false?
How could what you have learnt about the Egyptian Revolution change the world? In a small, medium or large way? On a local, national, global scale?
What issues do your pupils have that they would want to campaign about? How would they go about creating a campaign for this? What tools would they use? Have a look at ACT's campaigns handbook for teachers.
Uploaded : 14 February 2011
Filename : europeand_africamap.jpg ( 212 K )
Description : This map shows Europe and Africa so you can see where Egypt lies in relation to the UK and other European and African countries.