Egypt - Constitutional & Legal Foundations
Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceEgypt - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education
CONSTITUTIONAL & LEGAL FOUNDATIONS
Egyptian constitutions date back to 1923, 1956, 1958 (provisional), 1964 (provisional), and 1971 (significantly amended in 1980). The current constitution declares Egypt to be a democratic, socialist state and the Egyptian people to be part of the Arab nation. Islam is the state religion and Arabic the official language. Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation, and sovereignty is for the people alone. Political parties are regulated by law. Education, cultural, social, and health services are guaranteed. Every citizen has a constitutional guarantee to "choose the level and type of education that suit and agree with her/her talents, abilities and attitudes." Religious education is to be a principal subject in general education. Free education in the state educational institutions is guaranteed, and combating illiteracy is declared a national duty. Education Act No. 146/1981 grants educational authorities the power to require payments for "additional services" and for "insurance on the use of school equipment." A Ministry of Education decree in 1992 (No. 187) imposes such an annual fee (9 Egyptian pounds in primary school and 13.2 in elementary school). Still another decree (149/1986) imposes private group tuition of 2 Egyptian pounds monthly in primary school (3 pounds in preparatory school) for each course attended. Parent and teacher councils can double these fees.
The ambitious provisions of the 1989 Educational Development Plan were implemented by laws and decrees in the 1990s that:
- changed the nine year compulsory education to eight years
- increased the academic year from 30 to 38 weeks
- established the General Organization for School Buildings to plan for school building needs
- established a ten-year plan to eradicate illiteracy with emphasis on the education of women, the elderly, and rural populations
- developed new training programs for teachers of learning-impaired children
- allocated funds to establish one- or two-classroom schools
- upgraded school quality at all levels with new curricula
- coordinated university admission with secondary school diploma requirements
- standardized teacher preparation
- created a central division for educational planning within the Ministry of Education.
The 1990s were declared the National Decade of the Child and the National Decade for the Eradication of Illiteracy. The next educational plan, which covered the period from 1992 to 1997, contained corresponding programs for education. Program I, the promotion of education, planned for expanding and upgrading schools and universities and for expanding outside-of-school projects for dropouts and primary school non-enrollers. Program II planned for the eradication of illiteracy by the year 2000.
The plan set in motion the establishment of one-room rural schools for girls and community schools; upgrading the preparation of primary and preparatory teachers to the university level; initiation of a national program of in-service teacher training with in-county and overseas training; revision of primary and preparatory school curricula, textbooks, and teacher-guide books; expansion of modern technologies with laboratories, computer acquisition, remote teaching systems, video conferences for teacher training, and multimedia teaching materials; establishment of the National Center for Examinations and Educational Evaluation; transfer of kindergartens to the Ministry of Education; establishment of training for kindergarten teachers; and a center for developing kindergarten materials.