From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
For entities in Egypt see Category:Egypt
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Egypt in a nutshell
Egypt officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi), Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.
Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 80 million peoplelive near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
Egypt is the most populated country in the Middle East and the third most populous on the African continent, at about 80 million inhabitants in 2009. Population grew rapidly from 1970–2010 due to medical advances and increases in agricultural productivity, enabled by the Green Revolution. Egypt's population was estimated at only 3 million when Napoleon invaded the country in 1798. In 1939, Egypt had a population of 16.5 million. Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx. The southern city of Luxor contains numerous ancient artifacts, such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Egypt is widely regarded as an important political and cultural nation of the Middle East.
Egyptians are by far the largest ethnic group in Egypt at 91% of the total population. Ethnic minorities include the Abazas, Turks, Greeks, Bedouin Arab tribes living in the eastern deserts and the Sinai Peninsula, the Berber-speaking Siwis (Amazigh) of the Siwa Oasis, and the Nubian communities clustered along the Nile. There are also tribal Beja communities concentrated in the south-eastern-most corner, and a number of Dom clans mostly in the Nile Delta and Faiyum who are progressively becoming assimilated as urbanization increases. According to the International Organization for Migration, an estimated 2.7 million Egyptians live abroad. Approximately 70% of Egyptian migrants live in Arab countries (923,600 in Saudi Arabia, 332,600 in Libya, 226,850 in Jordan, 190,550 in Kuwait with the rest elsewhere in the region) and the remaining 30 % are living mostly in Europe and North America (318,000 in the US, 110,000 in Canada and 90,000 in Italy).
Source: Wikipedia's page on Egypt
Egypt education policy
Egypt has the largest overall education system in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and it has grown rapidly since the early 1990s. In recent years the Government of Egypt has accorded even greater priority in improving the education system. According to the Human Development Index (HDI), Egypt is ranked 123 in the HDI, and 7 in the lowest 10 HDI countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa, in 2009. With the help of World Bank and other multilateral organizations Egypt aims to increase access in early childhood to care and education and the inclusion of ICT at all levels of education, especially at the tertiary level. The government is responsible for offering free education at all levels. The current overall expenditure on education is about 12.6 percent as of 2007. Investment in education as a percentage of GDP rose to 4.8 in 2005 but then fell to 3.7 in 2007. The Ministry of education is also tackling with a number of issues: trying to move from a highly centralized system to offering more autonomy to individual institutions, thereby increasing accountability. The personnel management in the education also needs to be overhauled and teachers should be hired on merit with salaries attached to the performance
Egypt education system
The public education system in Egypt consists of three levels: the basic education stage for 4–14 years old: kindergarten for two years followed by primary school for six years and preparatory school for three years. Then, the secondary school stage is for three years, for ages 15 to 17, followed by the tertiary level. Education is made compulsory for 9 academic years between the ages of 6 and 14. Moreover, all levels of education are free in any government run schools. According to the World Bank, there are great differences in educational attainment of the rich and the poor, also known as the “wealth gap.” Although the median years of school completed by the rich and the poor is only one or two years but the wealth gap reaches as high as nine or ten years. In the case of Egypt, the wealth gap was a modest 3 years in the mid1990s. Overall, the composite education Index in the MENA Flagship Report: The Road Not Traveled showed promising results of Egypt’s relative educational achievements. Of the 14 MENA countries analyzed, Egypt achieved the universal primary education and has also reduced the gender gap at all levels of instruction, but there is still a need to improve the quality of education.
Egypt launched its National Strategic Plan for Pre-University Education Reform (2007/08 – 2011/12). The Strategic Plan (which has the subtitle ‘Towards an educational paradigm shift’) mirrors Egypt’s commitment to a comprehensive, sustainable, and collective approach towards ensuring an education of quality for all and developing a knowledge society. Its key elements are: access and participation; teachers; pedagogy; curriculum and learning assessment; textbooks and learning materials; management and governance; and a quality improvement strategy. Promotional examinations are held at all levels except in grades 3, 6 and 9 at the basic education level and the grades 11 and 12 in the secondary stage, which apply standardized regional or national exams. The Ministry of Education is responsible for making decisions about the education system with the support of three Centers: the National Center of Curricula Development, the National Center for Education Research, and the National Center for Examinations and Educational Evaluation. Each center has its own focus in formulating education policies with other state level committees. On the other hand, the Ministry of Higher Education supervises the higher education system. There is also a formal teacher’s qualification track in place for basic and secondary education levels. The teachers are required to complete four years of pre-service courses at university to enter the teaching profession. Specifically with respect to teacher’s professional development to raise mathematics, science and technology teaching standards, the Professional Academy for Teachers offer several programs. Local teachers also take part in the international professional training programs.
Starting in 2007, the Ministries of Education, Finance, and Local Development (and others) started informal discussions to experiment with the decentralization of education. Working groups were established to make more formal proposals. Proposals included ideas for starting with recurrent expenditures, using a simple and transparent formula for carrying out fiscal transfers, and making sure that transfers would reach the school itself. During 2008 design was carried out, three pilot governorates (Faiyum, Ismailia, and Luxor) were chosen, and monitoring and capacity building processes and manuals were agreed upon. The formula is quite simple, and includes enrolment, poverty, and stage of education as drivers. During 2009 funding was decentralized all the way to the school level, and schools began to receive funding. As of late 2009, the pilot showed few if any problems, and the expected results were materializing quite well, in terms of stimulating community participation, allowing schools to spend more efficiently and assess their own priorities, and increasing the seriousness of school-based planning by creating a means to finance such plans, among other expected results. An informal assessment of the pilot revealed that the funding formula money precipitated an increase in community donations. The survey results show that the ratio of the median values of community donations of the pilot year to the previous year was 2.20. Parallel to these efforts in the education sector, other sectors (for example, certain aspects of housing and municipal services) in Egypt are planning to decentralize decision-making and spending, now nation-wide (without a pilot stage in limited governorates), in a phased approach. Education plans to be one of the lead sectors in this process. In addition to administrative and financial decentralization, there is an increasing emphasis on involving elected local popular councils (which exist at governorate and district level) in the horizontal oversight of expenditure and planning across the decentralizing sectors, and as they come on stream in the decentralization process. Within the education sector, as of late 2009 plans are being made to decentralize certain lines of funding and planning for capital equipment and infrastructure, in all governorates, all the way to school level in the case of smaller units of capital equipment, or levels higher than the school for items such as new infrastructure. The education sector does expect to continue to use the original 3 pilot governorates as a special observatory to assess and understand how well the process is proceeding. The literacy rate in Egypt is 71 percent as of 2005 which includes 59 percent of females and 83 percent of males. There is special attention given by the government and other NGOs to reduce gender disparity in education and to achieve the 2015 MDG of universal primary education. The Egyptian educational system is highly centralized, and is divided into three stages:
Since Egypt's extension of the free compulsory education law in 1981 to include the Preparatory Stage, both Primary and Preparatory phases (Ages 6 through 14) have been combined together under the label Basic Education. Education beyond this stage depends on the student's ability.
Basic Education The basic education consists of pre-primary, primary and preparatory levels of education. In Egypt, the Ministry of Education coordinates the preschool education. In 1999-2000 the total enrollment rate of pre-primary students was 16 percent and that increased to 24 percent in 2009. Irrespective of private or state run, all preschool institutions come under Ministry of Education. It is the Ministry’s duty to select and distribute textbooks. According to the Ministry’s guidelines, the maximum size of a preschool should not exceed more than 45 students. Ministry of Education is also getting support from the international agencies, such as the World Bank to enhance the early childhood education system by increasing access to schools, improving quality of education and building capacity of teachers. At the primary level students could attend private, religious or government schools. Currently, there are 7.8 percent of students enrolled at primary level in private schools as of 2007. The total enrollment of students at primary level is 105 percent in 2007. The examinations at grade 3 are on district (edara) level. The second tier of basic compulsory education is the preparatory stage or lower secondary which is three years long. Completion of this tier grants students the Basic Education Completion Certificate. The importance of completion of this level of education is to safeguard students against illiteracy as early drop outs at this stage easily recede into illiteracy and eventually poverty. Secondary education consists of three tracks: general ,vocational/technical and the dualsystem vocational education which represented i Mubarak Kohl schools. The general secondary stage includes 3 years of education, whereas the secondary vocational track could be for 3–5 years.And 3 years for the dual system vocational education.To enter the secondary level, the students must pass a national exam which is given at end of the secondary stage. As of year 2004 the 77.3 percent of students completing preparatory stage are estimated to be enrolled in secondary education.At this level, students have formative and summative assessments during the first year and the average of the end of year national standardized exams for year two and three qualifies the students to take the Certificate of General Secondary Education-Thanawiya Amma, which is one of the requirements for admission into the universities. So far efforts are underway with the support of multilateral organizations to make the general and vocational secondary system less rigid and provide equal opportunities to students of various wealth quin tiles in the two tracks to opt for higher education. This is also being implemented by the World Bank led secondary enhancement project in Egypt.
Secondary Education Secondary education consists of three tracks: general ,vocational/technical and the dualsystem vocational education which represented i Mubarak Kohl schools. The general secondary stage includes 3 years of education, whereas the secondary vocational track could be for 3–5 years.And 3 years for the dual system vocational education.To enter the secondary level, the students must pass a national exam which is given at end of the secondary stage. As of year 2004 the 77.3 percent of students completing preparatory stage are estimated to be enrolled in secondary education. At this level, students have formative and summative assessments during the first year and the average of the end of year national standardized exams for year two and three qualifies the students to take the Certificate of General Secondary Education-Thanawiya Amma, which is one of the requirements for admission into the universities. So far efforts are underway with the support of multilateral organizations to make the general and vocational secondary system less rigid and provide equal opportunities to students of various wealth quintiles in the two tracks to opt for higher education. This is also being implemented by the World Bank led secondary enhancement project in Egypt.
Secondary education consists of three different types: general, technical or vocational. Technical/Vocational Secondary Education Technical education, which is provided in three-year and five-year programs, includes schools in three different fields: industrial, commercial and agricultural. The UN and other multilateral organizations are working towards improving the technical and vocational training system in Egypt. It is recommended to the Ministry of Education to introduce broad vocational skills in the curricula of general secondary schools. In this way students will be able to gain certification in practical skills needed in the job market. The Ministry of Education (MoE) controls pre-tertiary, school-based programs that can start after grade 6 and that enroll the largest number of students in TVET-over 2 million students. The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) controls the middle technical institutes (MTIs). These draw their enrollments from MoE's general secondary schools or technical schools and have much smaller enrollment numbers. Graduates o f the MoE’s vocational programs can enter vocational training centers (VTCs). From the 2004 data, it is estimated that 30 percent of the secondary students have opted for the vocational track. Government of Egypt has undertaken some promising initiatives to strengthen the management and reform of the TVET system.In 2006 the Industrial Training Council (ITC) was created through a ministerial decree with a mandate to improve coordination and direction of all training related entities, projects and policies in the Ministry.This will resolve the issue faced by most firms to employ skilled work force.According to the Enterprise Surveys in 2007, 31 percent of the firms in Egypt identify labor skill level as the major constraint of doing business in the country.
Al-Azhar system Another system that runs in parallel with the public educational system is known as the Al-Azhar system. It consists of six years of primary stage, a three year preparatory stage and finally three years of secondary stage. The Ministry of education reduced the number of secondary school years from four to three years in 1998, so as to align the Al Azhar system with the general secondary education system. In this system as well, there are separate schools for girls and boys. 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 under supervision by the Egyptian Prime Minister.Al Azhar schools are named "Institutes" and include primary, preparatory, and secondary phases.All schools in all stages teach religious subjects and non-religious subjects, to a certain degree- not as intensively as the state schools. The bulk of the curriculum, however, consists of religious subjects as described below. All the students are Muslims, and males and females are separated in all stages. Al-Azhar schools are all over the country, especially in rural areas. The graduates of Al-Azhar secondary schools are eligible to continue their studies only at the Al-Azhar University. As of 2007 and 2008, there are 8272 Al-Azhar schools in Egypt. In the early 2000s, Al-Azhar schools accounted for less than 4% of the total enrollment.The graduates of this system are then automatically accepted into Al-Azhar University.In 2007, the Pre-University enrollment in Al- Azhar institutes is about 1,906,290 students.
Egypt has a very extensive higher education system. About 30% of all Egyptians in the relevant age group go to university. However, only half of them graduate. According to The Economist, standards of education at Egyptian public universities are "abysmal”. 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. Out of the 51 non –university institutions, 47 are two-year middle technical institutes (MTIs) and four are 4–5 years higher technical institutes’. The higher education cohort is expected to increase by close to 6 percent (60,000) students per annum through 2009.
In 1990, a legislation was passed to provide greater autonomy to the universities17. But still the education infrastructure, equipment and human resources are not in place to cater to the rising higher education students. Gross enrollment in tertiary education increased from 27 percent in 2003 to 31 percent in 2005. But there has not been a similar increase in spending on improving the higher education system in terms of introduction of new programs and technologies.Both at national level (inspection systems, examinations) and at local level (school level student assessments) measures of the success of education strategies and the performance of the system are weak. The inspectorate system does not provide either solid technical support to school staff, nor an effective monitoring mechanism for failing schools. The examination system at the end of preparatory and secondary levels—Thanawiya Awwa, does not measure higher-order thinking skills, but concentrates rather on rote memorization. Scores can thus be raised significantly by exam specific tutoring, therefore, students with more resources can afford private tutoring which helps them to score higher on the national standardized exams and hence are accepted in top universities in Egypt. Hence, this competitive process of selection restricts students’ degree options and results, hence making students opt for programs and careers which are of little interest to them.
The Egyptian tertiary education is steered by a centralized system with institutions having little control on the decisions of the curriculum, program development and deployment of staff and faculty. Improving system governance and efficiency is an imperative that takes on added urgency given that a significant population bulge has reached the higher education system. The actual number of students entering higher education grew by 17 percent per year between 1992/93 and 1997/98. The consequence was a sharp decline in per student spending of around 40 percent in real terms over that period. The higher education cohort is projected to continue to increase by close to 6 percent (60,000 students) per annum through 2009. This means that significant efficiencies will need to be introduced into the system just to maintain quality at its current inadequate level. The performance and quality of higher education is currently severely compromised by overly centralized order to improve the already outdated system, rigid curriculum and teaching practices. Improving system governance and efficiency is an imperative that takes on added urgency given that a significant population bulge has reached the higher education system. The actual number of students entering higher education grew by 17 percent per year between 1992/93 and 1997/98. The consequence was a sharp decline in per student spending of around 40 percent in real terms over that period. The higher education cohort is projected to continue to increase by close to 6 percent (60,000 students) per annum through 2009. This means that significant efficiencies will need to be introduced into the system just to maintain quality at its current inadequate level. The Government of Egypt recognizes that there are real challenges to be faced in the sector, foremost amongst which are the need to significantly improve sector governance and efficiency, increase institutional autonomy, significantly improve the quality and relevance of higher education programs, and maintain coverage at existing levels. Recent Government actions to build political consensus on issues critical to reform have created a climate that is ripe for change. The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) acts as a champion for reform. The Minister, appointed in 1997, quickly established a committee for the reform of higher education (known as the HEEP Committee) which drew in a wide range of stakeholders including industrialists and parliamentarians. A National Conference on higher education reform was held in February 2000, and a Declaration for action emanating from the Conference was endorsed by the President and the Prime Minister. The Declaration identified 25 specific reform initiatives. The Bank agrees with, and supports, the Declaration. A range of multilateral and bilateral agencies,including the World Bank, also concur with the Declaration's proposals, and are committed to supporting various aspects of the reform process. The Government's Higher Education Reform Strategy Egyptian higher education reform strategy included 25 projects addressing all the reform domains, is implemented over three phases until 2017, and corresponds to the government's five year plans as follows:
Priority has been given to 12 projects in the first phase of implementation (2002–2007) and were integrated into the following six projects:
In August 2004, HEEP strategic priorities were adjusted to become responsive to the requirements of quality and accreditation and to correspond to the government’s approach to improving scientific research. The adjustment added two more dimensions: first, developing post graduate studies and scientific research and second, addressing students’ extra-curricular activities in addition to the continued implementation of the six prioritized programs during the first phase. Due to the dynamic nature of the reform strategy, which entails reconsidering priorities for each period, a Strategic Planning Unit (SPU) was established for the MOHE to ensure the sustainability of planning and project monitoring during the three phases and for future ones. A Students’ Activity Project (SAP) was also initiated as part of program accreditation similar to scientific research and post graduate studies. 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.
Universities in Egypt
Polytechnics in Egypt
Higher education reform
Administration and finance
Egypt's HEIs in the information society
"The Egyptian government identified information and communication technology (ICT) as a national development priority in 1999, and the country aspires to become a regional and international ICT provider competing with India and Ireland (Hassanin, 2003). In October 1999, a new Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) was established as the first step towards executing the national project for a technological renaissance to achieve the ‘Egyptian Information Society’ (Darwish, 2003), which aims to offer individuals, businesses and communities the opportunity to harness the benefits of ICT within the boundaries of national priorities and issues (ESCWA, n.d.). MCIT was entrusted with developing and improving the telecommunication infrastructure, creating an Egyptian Information Society and preparing the National Communications and Information Technology Plan (NCITP). MCIT’s strategy concentrates on building partnerships with the private sector via working groups to produce new initiatives and projects for the ICT market (Ismail & El Nawawy, n.d.).
It is within this movement that current trends in ICT in higher education are located. This chapter provides a review of literature on the status of higher education and ICT in Egypt. The broader context of prioritising ICT on a national level is considered, before looking specifically at higher education challenges and e-learning initiatives centred in higher education. Internet-based searching, the resource centre of the South African Institute of Distance Education (SAIDE) and an Egyptian educational technology expert provided the input for this review. While every attempt was made to gather up-to-date information, there was a general paucity of research on the use of e-learning at higher education institutions, as well as on challenges facing higher education in Egypt. Nevertheless, most recent reports are represented, and attempts were made to extricate information from various other reports. Several university web sites were reviewed in order to ascertain whether they had ICT and e-learning policies or whether they offered an e-learning component. The research revealed large disparities between institutions regarding ICT resources and use of e-learning, with some universities having established e-learning centres, while others did not provide any e-learning facility. In addition, reports on challenges facing the higher education sector point to the need to focus on e-learning as an area of priority."
Towards the information society
Information society strategy
Virtual initiatives in HE