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Secondary Education

From the Ptolemaic Age (323-200 B.C.) through the rule of Mohamed Ali in the first half of the nineteenth century, secondary education in Egypt was intended to prepare students for higher education or for work in governmental departments. The three-year general secondary curriculum continues to prepare students for higher education.

Educational opportunities vary widely in Egypt, and many students engage private tutors during their third year in order to prepare for the national test (Thanawiyya Aama). The exam is extremely difficult, covering all content areas throughout the secondary curriculum. Students are ranked for possible college application on the basis of their exam scores. The ranking is very important because exam scores determine if university admission is possible and to which major (faculty) the student will be assigned. Universities cannot accommodate all secondary level graduates, and poor scores remand students to applying to technical institutes.

Traditionally, failing in one subject in the national exam meant retaking all subjects. After studying secondary school certification in the United States, United Kingdom, and France, the system was changed in the 1990s by extending the examination, requiring testing in some compulsory subjects, providing a choice from different sets of subjects, and providing unlimited chances for retaking the examinations. The new system was phased in during the late 1990s; the new exam, however, was not upgraded to assess higher-order skills.

Technical education comprises industrial, agricultural, and commercial schools. Advanced technical schools offer a five-year program to train "Senior Technicians." Technical secondary schools provide a three-year program to train "Technicians," and vocational secondary schools offer a three-year program to train "Craftsmen." In the 1990s, the curriculum and texts were revised in industrial schools and new specializations were added, including: mechanical, marine, vehicles, architecture and building, decorative, textiles, metal work, medical aids, railways, printing, and electrical. The curriculum is intended to provide students with knowledge and skills required in practical work situations as well as a basic academic core of courses. Technical education saw the introduction of application-oriented courses, new specializations, new equipment, new secondary schools, and improvements in technical teacher training.

Different organizations, companies, philanthropic societies, and ministries also offer training with study programs below university level that extend for three years. Vocational schools award a technical diploma equivalent to that of the industrial secondary schools. Their curriculum and training methods differ from those of the Ministry of Education. Fields of study include health education, nursing and first aid, transportation, mining, industrial education, communication, electrical power, and construction and building. In 1994-1995, enrollments in technical secondary programs totaled about 1.75 million, more than twice the enrollments in general secondary education. In 1992, approximately 67 percent of all secondary students were enrolled in a technical program. Only one percent of these students advanced to university study. The labor market cannot absorb all those graduating from the technical schools, and many remain unemployed for four to six years after graduation. School dropouts reaching labor force age in 1989-1990 numbered 162,000. In 2000, it was reported that 500,000 students leave the Ministry of Education's commercial, industrial, and agricultural secondary schools every year—400,000 as graduates and 100,00 as dropouts.

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceEgypt - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education