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Education and SchoolsBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Egypt - Education and Schools
Education Is Compulsory And Free In Egypt
All children in Egypt, regardless of gender, religion or family circumstances, are required to receive an education from the age of four until they are 14. The state provides a public education system free at the point of use.
Since preschools are mostly in urban areas and the system is still developing, less than a third of eligible four and five-year olds attend. The national enrolment goal is 80 percent by 2030. In a country where poverty affects children’s ability to meet key milestones for their age, access to quality early years education is important.
Nearly all state schools teach in Arabic, although there are a few exceptions where English is used instead.
As Egypt is a Muslim country, Islamic Studies form an important part of each school’s curriculum.
Teaching styles in Egypt are rigid and highly disciplined. Student participation is not encouraged, and corporal punishment is still in use. Unfortunately, the lack of engagement from students is reflected in the poor results of the international knowledge assessment tests. In the 2015-16 Global Competitiveness Report, published by the World Economic Forum, Egypt was ranked 116 out of 140 countries based on the quality of primary education.
The charity UNICEF and the ministry of education conducted a national study into school enrolment. It concluded that approximately three percent of children who should be enrolled at primary school had either never enrolled or had subsequently dropped out. That equates to 320,000 children. Poverty, failure to recognise the value of education, long distances between home and school, social attitudes towards girls being educated, underfunded schools, and a lack of provision for children with special needs were all reasons that contributed to this high number of children missing out on education from such an early age.
About 20 percent of school facilities were identified as unfit for use, some even lacking water and sanitation facilities.
Furthermore, the system is struggling to cope with the increasing numbers of refugee children requiring a free school place, including those fleeing Syria.
Private Education In Egypt
You will not be surprised to hear that expats working in Egypt choose to educate their children privately if they can afford to do so.
Such families have three choices for educating their children:
● A boarding school in the UK, US or home country
● A private school in Egypt
● An international school in Egypt
Private schools in Egypt tend to be cheaper than international schools, although they still require a sizeable outlay per child. There are a broad array of private schools you can choose from, depending on what is available near your home. Many follow a similar curriculum to the state schools, but in properly financed conditions. Some are faith schools, and some are not. The options for teaching in English are available, although may not be as widespread as you need.
The school year begins in September, and ends in June. There are significant holidays in December/January and July/August.
Schools are open Sunday to Thursday each week. The school day usually starts at 8am. Lessons end at 3pm, although after-school individual tutoring and clubs are available.
International schools are well-resourced private schools which teach in the language of, and deliver the curriculum of an identified Western country. They tend to have excellent facilities and usually pay high salaries to attract well-qualified and experienced expat teachers. As a result, the fees and ancillary costs can be high.
Well-educated and financially comfortable Egyptian families place a high value on education, so often choose international schools if they have the means to do so and if their children obtain a place. As a result, the international schools in Egypt have a high percentage of pupils from local families.
Most international schools are based in Cairo and Giza. Security has to be taken seriously, so the premises will be secure and school trips limited.
Some Egyptian International Schools
BISC: The British International School, Cairo. Opened in the 1970s, this established international school teaches in English. Pupils affectionately call themselves ‘biscuits’. They are based in a relatively new, large campus in West Cairo. The school works towards exams in IGCSE, GCSE, IB Diploma, and BTEC in Business.
NCBIS: New Cairo British International School. This school delivers the British curriculum to a culturally diverse student body. Students have the option to take GCSE, IGCSE and IB Diploma exams.
MBIS: Maadi British International School. This school offers the British curriculum to children between the ages of two and 13.
The International School of Choueifat. This school has two sites in Cairo, which boast indoor swimming pools, IT and science labs, large libraries and a 600-seat theatre. British curriculum, IGCSE and GCSE exams are offered.
TBS: The British School Al Rehab. Delivering the British curriculum, this school offers IGCSE and A-Level exams.
MES: Modern English School, Cairo. This school offers both British and American curriculums, so families can select which option is best for their child. IGCSE and A-Level exams are available, as are the Advanced Placement (AP) and high school diploma exams.
MET: Metropolitan School. Delivering an American curriculum to children aged three to 11, many of the teachers here are expats bringing their expertise of Western teaching practices to the school.
CAC: Cairo American College. This school delivers the American curriculum to a student body which includes a large number of expat children. Good athletics provision, the AP and IB Diploma are some of the many reasons why parents choose this school.
AISE: American International School In Egypt. This school delivers the American curriculum and offers the IB Diploma. Teaching is delivered on two well-equipped sites.
DEOKairo: Deutsche Evangelische Oberschule. Run by the German protestant community in Cairo, this school follows the German curriculum. Small class sizes help good achievement in the German Abitur exams.
Ecole Oasis International. Delivers the French curriculum in a French environment.
The Hayah International Academy. This schools offers the IB Diploma and is well regarded.
Green Land International School. Located in a rural area of Giza, this school offers IB Diplomas.
Read more about this country
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