6 minute read


Higher Education

There are essentially three types of universities: those offering preparation for the world of work; those concerned with development of scientific research serving the community and contributing to the development of various fields; and those offering general cultural and intellectual activities. In 1994-1995 and 1995-1996, presidential decrees authorized 35 new institutions to be located in different areas of the country and to include new disciplines such as genetic engineering and new branches of existing disciplines such as colleges of education. In 1996 a presidential decree authorized the development of four new private universities: Egypt's International University, Egypt's Science and Technology University, October Six University, and The October University for the Arts and Contemporary Sciences. Higher education institutions expanded from 144 institutes and colleges in 1981 to 208 in 1996. Tuition is free at public universities for Egyptians; foreign students pay modest tuition fees. Tuition at the American University in Cairo was $10,000 in 1997. It differs from Egyptian universities in that it is based on the departmental and credit-hour system. In September 2000, plans were announced for a new British not-for-profit university to open as early as October 2002. The initial curriculum will focus on areas crucial to Egypt's long-term growth: engineering, management, and information technology.

A Central Orientation Bureau controls admission to undergraduate studies. The bureau matches student preferences with the availability of places and programs at the institutions. Admission requires a General Secondary Education Certificate. Some departments also require oral and/or written entrance exams and/or interviews or high grades in qualifying subjects. In 1991-1992, universities admitted 74,310 students. By 1996, admissions more than tripled, totaling 237,873. In 1991-1992, 11,899 students earned undergraduate degrees; by 1995-1996, this number had risen to 14,587. In 1991-1992, a total of 4,495 Masters degrees were awarded; in 1995-1996 this number was 6,097. In 1991-1992, some 2,128 doctorates were granted; the total rose to 2,818 in 1995-1996. In all, a total of 23,502 university degrees (at all levels) were awarded in 1995-1996 compared to 18,522 in 1991-1992.

While higher education is free for all Egyptians; foreign students pay modest tuition fees. Hostels are provided for Egyptian students from distant rural regions who need financial assistance. Separate hostels are available for males and females. Meals, medical care, and social services are also provided. Board and lodging are heavily subsidized. Fifty million Egyptian pounds have been allocated to upgrade university laboratories and relevant equipment. Ten million pounds have also been allocated for upgrading computer laboratories and computer instruction. An additional 50 million pounds are earmarked for upgrading university libraries. New undergraduate studies using English and French as the languages of instruction have been introduced in the colleges of commerce, economics, political science, and management. Plans for the "science of the future" specialized centers focusing on specialized disciplines such as genetic engineering, space, and analysis of new global trends, are to be introduced in all universities. The Genetic Engineering Center for Biological Technology was established at Menoufia and the Center for Futuristic studies at Assiut University. Computer education has been introduced, and colleges for computer science and information will be established at Cairo, Ein Shams, Mansoura, and Helwan Universities.

Several non-university advanced educational opportunities also exist. The National Institute for Higher Administration in Cairo provides training in administration for various levels of in-service personnel from all ministries and organizations. The English for Specific Purposes Center in Alexandria provides postgraduate study in linguistics and translation. Full-time students study for one year, while part-time students study for two years. Successful completion results in a diploma in linguistics or translation. The Higher Institute of Technology in Banha provides university-level education in various specializations in technological fields. The International Center for Inspection and Control Studies in Alexandria conducts training for university graduates from Egypt and Arab and African countries in a program lasting one year.

Schools of art and music include the Academy of Arts (Giza), Higher Institute of Ballet (Cairo with branches in Alexandria and Ismailia), Higher Institute of Cinema (Cairo), Higher Institute of Theatre Arts (Cairo), Higher Institute of Arab Music (Cairo), Higher Institute of Music (Cairo), Higher Institute of Folklore (Cairo), Higher Institute of Art Criticism (Cairo), and the Higher Institute of Child Arts (Cairo). The French University in Egypt (Cairo) offers a wide range of courses and hosts study-abroad students.

Postsecondary colleges and institutes were created to offer non-traditional disciplines and to respond rapidly to societal needs. Engineering and Technological Education Institutes, established in the 1990s, produce engineers who combine both theoretical and applied expertise. In 1995-1996, five institutes enrolled 3,854 students. Specialized Education Institutes offer training in music education, technical education, kindergarten education, home economics, educational technology, educational media, physical education, one-room school teaching, special education, and English. In 1995-1996, enrollment was 14,019 students. Private institutes offer training in areas such as computer technology, social work, tourism, hotel management, agricultural and management cooperatives, economics media, and language. Private junior institutes train in social work, secretarial skills and computers. In 1995-1996, some 43,766 students wereregistered. Technical Industrial Institutes produce graduates to fill the gap between expert engineers and technical laborers. In 1995-1996, some 22 institutes enrolled 56,491 students. Commercial and hotel institutes provide further education for graduates of commercial secondary high schools. In 1995-1996, some 65,721 students were registered. Health care, nutrition, housing and social care are heavily subsidized for students at institutes.

In 1995-1996, Egyptian universities and higher institutes hosted 3,493 foreign undergraduates and 1,299 postgraduate students. An additional 104 foreign students attended training centers. The Educational Center for Arabic language Instruction teaches Arabic to international students and has various clubs provide enriching experiences. Egypt participates in the American Project Hope (for nursing institutes), Fulbright educational exchanges, the German Corporation for Academic Exchange, and international university linkages for doctoral candidate supervision. Egyptian professors are sent to universities and organizations in other countries.

The university and college libraries are said to be very poor and, in many cases, outdated. They suffer from lack of funds; from poorly trained, poorly paid, uninterested librarians with limited English facility; and in some cases, from deteriorating facilities. The main gaps in holdings are in periodicals, reference books, bibliographies, abstracts, and indexes. Reasonable quantities of Arabic books and journals are available, as are audiocassettes and quantities of microfilmed journals from the 1960s and 1970s, donated by USAID. Even 1992 reports indicate that the typical Egyptian student is unlikely to have used a library before arriving at college and is even unlikely to use one during college, given the emphasis on rote learning and the unfamiliarity with independent learning. University libraries include Alexandria University Central Library (45,000 books, 1,000,000 microfiches and films, 1200 periodicals, 2,500 manuscripts, and 17,500 dissertations); Assiut University (250,000 volumes); Al-Azhar University (60,000 volumes and 20,000 manuscripts); the American University in Cairo (275,000 volumes); and Cairo University (1,407,000 volumes and 10,000 periodicals). Other libraries in Cairo include the Arab League Information Center (30,000 volumes and 250 periodicals); Central Library of the Agricultural Research Center (25,000 volumes); and the Center of Documentation and Studies on Ancient Egypt (scientific and documentary reference center for all Egyptian Pharaonic monuments with 4,500 volumes and 33,000 photographs). National libraries include the Library of the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics; National Archives of Central Administration, National Assembly Library; and the National Information and Documentation Center. Many of the higher institutes of art and music also contain specialized libraries. School libraries, when they exist, even in the 1990s are likely to be a locked cupboard in the headmaster's office.

In the 1990s, Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of the President, led a national campaign to build libraries for young people in Cairo and other major cities with children's areas, multimedia, trained librarians, children's programs, and locations in attractive surroundings in public parks or near recreational activities. The Ministry of Education developed plans for upgrading school libraries in 1993, and space for libraries is part of new school designs. Basic school library lists were prepared in the 1990s, and 2,975 tapes were provided for schools.

Additional topics

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