Egyptian uni students are being forced to take classes on how to get hitched and stay together before they are allowed to graduate after the country’s divorce rate went up by 86 percent.
The news comes after the country hit an all-time high of 211,521 divorce cases in 2018 with one in five marriages now headed for disaster.
In order to stem the crisis, government officials are now forcing all of the country’s university students to take lessons on how to stay married before they are allowed to graduate.
The programme, which is called Mawadda – which means affection, in Arabic – is designed to show young Egyptians how to choose Mr or Mrs Right and how to stay together once they get hitched.
The lessons – backed by both Al-Azhar, the Islamic Shariah governing body and the Coptic
Christian church – will be taught in universities across the country with further plans to give classes via YouTube and radio once they get underway in September.
The initiative has been in trial phase and 21,000 attendees have undertaken part of the course so far, according to local media.
Mawadda is planned to target 900,000 young adults between 18-25, many of whom are university students.
It will be listed as a requirement for any student who wishes to graduate university.
Young married couples are also targeted as part of the project if they end up in the divorce courts.
The scheme was initiated after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi expressed his concern over the alarming number of divorce cases after the number of divorcees shot up by 86 percent between 2008 and 2018.
Barak Barfi, a research fellow at New America, a Washington-based centrist think tank branded el-Sisi’s move ‘patriarchal’ when speaking to Reuters earlier this year.
He added: “[Mawadda] reflects his belief that transformation can be instituted from the top rather than from below at the grass roots level.”
Most marriages in Egypt are typically arranged, a practice also known as ‘salonat’. Such marriages are usually preceded by short engagement periods, leaving little to no time for potential partners to get to know one another.
Polygamy is not common in Egypt and recently Al-Azhar’s Imam, the head of the Sunni institution, called it an ‘injustice to women’.
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