Country name: Conventional long form: Arab republic of Egypt
Conventional short form: Egypt
Local long form: Jumhuriyat Misr Al-Arabiyah
Local short form: Misr
Government type: Republic
Capital Name: Cairo
Location: Egypt is situated in northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Libya
is on its western border and the Gaza Strip and the Red Sea makes up the eastern
border. The Sudan lies on Egypt's southern border.
Geography: Egypt covers 95,450 sq km , slightly more than three times the size of New
Mexico, US. It has a desert climate with hot, dry summers and moderate winters.
Languages: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated
Ethnic Groups: Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers) 99%.
Greek, Nubian, Armenian and other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%.
Religion: Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%.
Currency: Egyptian Pounds (LE)
ATTRACTION IN EGYPT
The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
The Pyramids of Giza represent one of the greatest architectural feats by man. The last
surviving member of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramid of Giza is one
of the world's oldest tourist attractions and the reason most people visit Egypt today.
Egypt: Abu Simbel
Next to the Pyramids of Giza, Abu Simbel is perhaps the most recognized monument of
ancient Egypt. The two temples built for the pharaoh Ramesses II have been attracting
visitors since Victorian times.
Egypt: Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings (Biban El Moluk) situated on the ancient site of Thebes is where
the pharaoh's were buried and hoped to meet their Gods in the afterlife. This is where
you will find Tutankhamun's tomb which was discovered almost intact in the 1920's.
Egypt: The Egyptian Museum in Cairo
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is one of the first stops on most people's itineraries
when traveling to Egypt. With over 120,000 artifacts, the museum houses an incredible
display depicting ancient Egypt's glorious reign. You can enjoy mummies, sarcophagi,
pottery, jewelry and of course King Tutankhamen's treasures.
Story about King Tutankhamen
TUT was only nine years old when he became Pharaoh. He was only 18 years old when
he died. The people did not have a lot of time to build Tut's tomb. Tut's tomb was very
small compared to the tombs of other pharaohs.
Because his tomb was so small, it was overlooked for thousands of years.
In 1922, a British archaeologist named Howard Carter entered King Tut's tomb. It was
almost like entering a time machine.
Robbers might have been there because a bag of gold rings was found on the floor, as
if dropped in haste. But they did not take everything because Carter and his team found
many treasures inside the tomb including a solid gold mask of King Tut's face.
The Education System in Egypt
The education system in Egypt is state-sponsored and set up in three stages:
primary school (6 years), preparatory school (3 years), and secondary school (3 years).
Basic education consists of the first two stages and is obligatory for all students in the
country, although 16% of girls still do not enroll in primary school. Primary schools are
not segregated by sex, but the public preparatory and secondary schools are. There
are, however, many co-educational private schools with fees affordable only for the
middle and upper classes.
The first primary school for girls was opened in 1873 and the first secondary
school for girls was opened in 1921. Education became obligatory by law for both sexes
in the constitution in year 1923. Women joined Cairo University for the first time in
In 1993, the First Lady of Egypt initiated a project for educating girls who did not
join formal education through one-class and community schools. The Ministry of
Education constructed this special type of school in rural and remote areas of Egypt.
Recently, the National Council for Women has launched an optimistic project in
cooperation with the Elderly Education Organization and with the help of nongovernmental organizations aiming at eradicating illiteracy among women aged 15-45
years as well as executing a plan for total elimination of illiteracy among those aged 1535 by the year 2006.
Students take various exams throughout their formal schooling which determine
the path that they will take. A primary school exam is taken at the end of the sixth year
of schooling to test students' basic knowledge. The preparatory school exam at the end
of the 9th year will determine which school the student moves on to. Students with high
scores continue on to a general secondary school, which qualifies them to attend
universities later. Those with low scores are directed to technical secondary schools,
where students study commercial, industrial, or agricultural education and pursue
careers as technicians, salespeople, secretaries, etc. In the general secondary
education, students choose either the science, mathematics, or arts branch after their
The Secondary School Certificate Exam is the most important and is taken in the
last two years of secondary schooling. Students study eight different courses each year.
The exam is administered nation-wide and is based on this coursework. University
admittance is dependent upon the results of this exam - a student should obtain at least
94% in the science branch to get into medical school, and 91% in the mathematics
branch to get into engineering. Female students in Egypt get better grades and achieve
more success than males, as well as occupy most of the top ranks in all the general
exams in all stages of education. The number of female students in Egyptian
universities has increased remarkably over the years as shown in Fig. 1.
Female graduate students with excellent academic records have the opportunity
to study abroad via government scholarships or scholarships from foreign universities.
Although the government sent the first group of women to study abroad in year 1925
until now, some parents may object to this because they often do not want daughters
traveling alone. If the woman is married, her husband may not want to stay at home
waiting for her, and it can be difficult for him to find a suitable job in the same country
where his wife is studying. International experience does not necessarily help in finding
a job upon returning to Egypt, but it does offer a way for the candidate to distinguish
herself from other job applicants.
Given that education is state-sponsored and that progression through school is
dependent on test scores, the number of women in science and engineering colleges
has increased remarkably. The female students in year 2002 reached 55.4% in
pharmacology, 45.5% in medical schools, 58.1% in dentistry, 45.4% in veterinary,
45.8% in science colleges (physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, and geology),
37.4% in computer science, and 24.5% in engineering as shown in Fig.2. Women
getting accepted into science and engineering schools are not likely to drop out
because they have reached this position after a tough competition that screened all
students and proved that they are capable of pursuing these studies. Moreover, higher
education in Egypt is free. The ratio of female students in engineering in Egypt is higher
than most advanced countries, but still far below the parity, not because female
students are not qualified for engineering study but because cultural stereotypes still
classify engineering as a "hard" profession for girls. Many parents try to direct their
daughters into arts and humanities, even if they get the required grades for engineering
colleges, in order to have an easier time combining career and family. It is important to
note that the first female student to join an engineering college in Egypt was in 1945.
Three female students graduated in 1950. The percentage of female students in
engineering colleges remained very low in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s it rose to
approximately 15%. It is now about 25% in 2002.
Female professors in science and engineering become role models for women
students. There are currently no state-sponsored organizations to increase the retention
of women in science and engineering because the Egyptian constitution and laws offer
equal opportunities for all students and they do not need any retention like other
countries. The female student can overcome any problems during her study, and her
success depends on her perseverance and the encouragement of women professors.
The overall number of women professors has also increased over the years. In some
scientific colleges as dentistry and pharmacology, they exceeded the male professors.
Fig. 3 gives an example of the percent of women faculty members in the three
academic ranks in some scientific and engineering colleges in Zagazig University. Fig. 4
portrays the overall increase in the number of female faculty members in Egyptian
Egypt has the largest education system in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and
it has grown rapidly since the early 1990s. In recent years the government has
accorded even greater priority to improving the education system.
According to the Human Development Index (HDI), Egypt is ranked 116. With the help
of the World Bank and other multilateral organizations, Egypt aims to increase access to
education and to include ICT at all levels of education, especially at tertiary level. The
government is responsible for offering free education at all levels.
The Ministry of Education is also trying to move from a highly centralised system to
offering more autonomy to individual institutions, thereby increasing accountability. The
personnel management in education also needs to be overhauled and teachers should
be hired on merit with salaries based on performance.
TYPES OF SCHOOLS
There are two types of government schools:
Arabic Schools provide the governmental national curriculum in the Arabic
Experimental Language Schools teach most of the government curriculum in
English, and add French as a second foreign language.
There are three types of private schools:
Ordinary schools have a similar curriculum to that of government schools, but
private schools pay more attention to students' personal needs and to school
Language schools teach most of the government curriculum in English, and add
French or German as a second foreign language. They are expected to be better
than other schools, because of the facilities available, but their fees are much
higher. Some of these schools use French or German as their main language of
instruction, but it may be difficult for the student to study in governmental
universities in Arabic or English afterwards.
Religious schools are religiously-oriented, e.g. Azhar schools.
Many of the private schools were built by missionaries, are currently affiliated with
churches and provide quality education.
Many private schools offer additional educational programmes, along with the national
curriculum, such as the American High School Diploma, the British IGCSE system, the
French baccalauréat, the German Abitur and the International Baccalaureate.
BASIC, SECONDARY AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
Basic education consists of pre-primary, primary and preparatory levels of
education. Irrespective of whether they are private or state-run, all pre-school
institutions come under the Ministry of Education. The ministry receives support from
international agencies, such as the World Bank, to enhance the early childhood
education system by increasing access to schools, improving the quality of education
and building the capacity of teachers..
The second tier of basic compulsory education is the preparatory or lower secondary
stage which lasts for three years. Completion of this tier grants students the Basic
Education Completion Certificate. It is important for students to complete this level of
education, as early drop outs easily recede into illiteracy and eventually poverty.
Secondary education, which is also compulsory, consists of three tracks: general,
vocational / technical and the dual system vocational education which is represented in
Mubarak Kohl schools. The general secondary stage includes three years of education,
whereas the secondary vocational track could be for three-five years and three years for
the dual system vocational education.
To enter the secondary level, students must pass a national exam at the end of the
preparatory stage. At this level, students have assessments during the first year, and
the average of the end of year national standardised exams for year two and three
qualifies the students to take the Certificate of General Secondary EducationThanawiya Amma.
Technical/Vocational Secondary Education Technical education, which is provided in
three-year and five-year programmes, includes schools in three different fields:
industrial, commercial and agricultural. The UN and other multilateral organisations are
working towards improving the technical and vocational training system in Egypt.
Al Azhar Education System
Another system that runs in parallel with the public educational system is the AlAzhar system. It consists of four years of primary stage, a three year preparatory stage
and finally three years of secondary stage. Al Azhar education system is supervised by
the Supreme Council of the Al-Azhar Institution.
The Azhar Institution itself is nominally independent from the Ministry of Education, but
is ultimately supervised by the Egyptian Prime Minister. Al Azhar schools are called
‘institutes’ and include primary, preparatory, and secondary phases. All schools in all
stages teach religious subjects and non-religious subjects. The bulk of the curriculum,
however, consists of religious subjects.
Egypt has an extensive higher education system. About 30% of all Egyptians in
the relevant age group go to university. However, only half of them graduate.
The Ministry of Higher Education supervises the tertiary level of education. There are a
number of universities catering to students in diverse fields. In the current education
system, there are 17 public universities, 51 public non-university institutions, 16 private
universities and 89 private higher institutions. Of the 51 non–university institutions, 47
are Middle Technical Institutes offering two-year courses and four are Higher Technical
Institutes offering four-five year courses. The higher education cohort was expected to
increase by close to 6% (60,000 students) in 2009.
Initiatives to Improve the System
Egyptian tertiary education is run centrally, with institutions having little control
over decisions about the curriculum, programme development and deployment of staff
and faculty. In order to improve this outdated system, rigid curriculum and teaching
practices, the government has established the National Agency for Quality Assurance
and Accreditation of Education (NAQAAE) as an independent entity.
The aim of NAQAAE is to introduce international best practices, promote quality and
provide greater autonomy for universities and technical institutes. Two new government
bodies have been established to promote research, development and innovation (RDI)
through increased funding and technical assistance. In 2007, the overall level of funding
of RDI was 0.24 percent of the GDP but it is expected that by 2012 RDI funding will
reach 0.5% of GDP, which is quite high by the standards of lower middle income
New Master Plan
The Ministry of Education recently proposed a Master Plan for the Development
of Higher Education until 2022, which is a second phase following the reforms initiated
in 1995. This plan aims to further the reform process in the higher education sector by
spreading best practice. The World Bank has been one of the few donors, along with
the OECD, to be deeply involved with the higher education sector.
Types of Institutions
There are both private and public institutions of higher education in Egypt. Public
higher education is free in Egypt, and Egyptian students only pay registration fees.
Private education is much more expensive. Major universities include Cairo University,
Alexandria University, Ain Shams University, and the 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar
University, while the American University in Cairo, Arab Academy for Science and
Technology and Maritime Transport, the British University and Université Française
d'Égypte are some of the leading private universities.
Current Educational Issues’ in Egypt
- Poor Facilities
- Inadequate Teachers
- Outdated Curricula
- Overcrowded Classrooms