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Status of Education in Modern Day Egypt

There is an abiding belief in education. It is viewed as vital to


the transmission of cultural values and as a critical force in individual
development and in national Egyptian development. (EgyptEducational System). It appears that education of the people is critical
to the country of Egypt. Since Egypt is apart of the United Nations,
these three priorities should be present: place every child in school,
improve the quality of learning, and foster global citizenship.
(Priorities). However, the question remains, are the United Nations
three priorities present in Egypts community? The remainder of this
report will focus on that inquiry.
To begin with, the first priority of the United Nations is to place
every child in school. According to the article, Egypt-Educational
System, the countrys three education levels: basic education,
secondary education and tertiary education are completely free of
charges as long as they qualify as government schools and institutions.
This allows for more students to enroll in schools throughout the
country because there is no financial burden. In addition to providing
tuition-free governmental institutions, the country also provides one
class-room schools. These schools are placed in deprived areas and
are specifically created for girls age 8-14 who have been denied access
to school, or dropped out completely. (Egypt: Report: Part 1).
Although Egypt appears to be doing well as far as providing all

students the opportunity to attend school by creating free


governmental institutions and supports, there is still room for
improvement as secondary and tertiary schools enrollment
percentages plunge compared to primary school enrollment as seen in
the chart below. With that being said, the government would like to see
an increase in the number of Egyptian students enrolling in higher
education levels rise about .3 million in the next year. However, with
the current, unstable state of the country, change has been hard to
come by. (Education in Egypt, 2013).
Modern Egyptian Education Statistics

Figure 1. This table shows a variety of statistics that provide


information about the modern Egyptian education system. (Education
in Egypt, 2013).
Secondly, not only should education be available to children, but
the education system should also be improving the quality of learning
for the students. Even though government schools in Egypt have been

made available to students free of charge, the quality of the schools


may be paying for the free tuition. Egypts classrooms are currently
facing problems such as overcrowding and illiteracy issues that they
have been struggling with for years. The quality of Egypt's primary
education has been recognized as dire for several decades, in a
country where the illiteracy rate remains high, at around 28 percent.
But a recent report suggested that its quality may be deteriorating
even further. (Keddie, 2013). When compared against 148 other
countries, Egypt comes in dead last in the quality of primary education.
(Keddie, 2013). In addition, as mentioned previously, overcrowding has
also become a major issue in Egypts classrooms. According to Keddie,
classes often hold a minimum of 60 students in government schools.
(2013). Lessons taught during the day in these overcrowded rooms
consist of memorizing an immense amount of facts rather than
expanding on the students critical thinking skills.
Classrooms in Egypt

Figure 2. A dreary, overcrowded public classroom in Egypt. (Keddie,


2013).
With low quality education beginning in the early years of
education it is unrealistic to expect students to continue attending
school as curriculum becomes more strenuous in higher-level
education. Thus, it is safe to say that unless the quality of education is
improved in Egypts primary schools and beyond, it is doubtful that the
country will see the growth in secondary and tertiary schools they are
hoping for.
Literacy in Egyptian Youth

Figure 3. Chart showing youth literacy rate in Egypt compared to


other various
countries. (Egyptian Human Resource Competitiveness).

Lastly, as part of the United Nations, the country of Egypt should


be fostering global citizenship. That is, schools must be producing
individuals who have shared values for the well being of our planet and
the people inhabiting it. (Priorities). It appears as if Egypts
educational system may be following suit, and attempting to do this.
However, there still seems to be room for improvement. In an article
written by Madeline Waddell, she quotes Muhammad Faour, who says
Egypts school curriculum provides useful information relating to
citizenship and human rights but gives special attention to the

perspective on political awareness in Islam It affords no attention to


the perspectives of other religious groups (2013).
Since Egypt has a large, diverse population with citizens that
possess different religious beliefs, it is essential that the school system
address the subject of citizenship from more than one religious
perspective. To ensure that the lessons of citizenship impact each
student, the lessons must be related to the different beliefs of these
individuals. It seems that Egypt will need to reevaluate the way they
are teaching students the importance of politics, the care for our planet
and the people of the world.
In conclusion, the Egyptian school systems appear to have many
benefits and are addressing most of the priorities required of the
United Nations members. Yet, there is still room for immense
improvement from this country. Major issues that must be addressed
include: the state of the government classrooms, and the way lessons
are being taught in these overcrowded schools. If the country of Egypt
desires to see increases in enrollment rates in higher-level education
schools, the school system must be reassessed.

Resources:
Egyptian Human Resource Competitiveness. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21,
2015, from
http://www1.aucegypt.edu/src/skillsdevelopment/skills_egypt.ht
m
Education in Egypt. (2013, November 4). Retrieved March 18, 2015,
from
http://wenr.wes.org/2013/11/education-in-egypt/
Egypt - Educational System. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from
http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/411/EgyptEDUCATIONAL-SYSTEMOVERVIEW.html
Egypt: Report: Part I: Main indicators for Education for All. (n.d.).
Retrieved March 18, 2015, from
http://www.unesco.org/education/wef/countryreports/egypt/rappo
rt_1.
Htm
Keddie, P. (2013, December 19). Inside Egypt's dismal primary schools.
Retrieved March 21, 2015, from
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/12/inside-egyptdismal-primary-schools-201312157919225472.html
Priorities. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from

http://www.globaleducationfirst.org/priorities.html
Waddell, M. (n.d.). Citizenship Education in Egypt. Retrieved March 21,
2015, from
http://soundideas.pugetsound.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?
article=1277&context=s
ummer_research