If the reports pouring in from the Egyptian province of Qalyubia are true, then the school children in this area, north of the capital Cairo, might have to spend the new school year without the ‘cheerful and familiar’ Disney characters that have been their companions for sessions.

Alaa Abdul-Halim Mohammed Marzouk, the governor of Qalyubia has passed on a verdict according to which the cartoon images of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and other Disney characters on the walls of pre-schools must be replaced by ‘military heroes’, say reports.

“We need to replace pictures of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck with images of famous Egyptians and military martyrs, so that children will look up to them as role models. These characters are US-made, whereas we have our own noble figures who can deepen children’s patriotism and love of country,” Marzouk told reporters.

An official from the Ministry of Education said a committee would see how the governor’s orders should be implemented across the whole governorate, according to local media Youm7.

The governor’s decree has been followed by a flurry of mixed reactions on social media. While few have welcomed the order emphasizing on nurturing a sense of nation among children, others thought the governor was overplaying the significance of cartoon figures.

“Nothing wrong with that, although I think imposing images of military martyrs on kindergarten children is a bit early,” a Facebook user said.

“Children must be children — play, dream and love. He has no right to take the innocence of the children,” said another.

“It’s good that we teach our children about the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the people of Egypt. My regards to the governor of Qalyubia,” read one online comment.

(With agency inputs)