Education sector

An Expert's View about Education in Egypt

Posted on: 28 Sep 2012

Education and training is a sector of paramount importance to the continued development of Egypt’s economy and society.

The Education sector in Egypt Education and training is a sector of paramount importance to the continued development of Egypt’s economy and society. Egypt is the region’s most populous country by far, and yet industry cannot source the skills it needs. Bridging the skills gap means changing attitudes towards workplace and vocational education. Market overview The Egyptian education system is widely acknowledged to require root and branch reform at all levels – primary and secondary school, tertiary, life-long learning and workplace training. The skills gap is real, and failure to deal with it could jeopardise Egypt’s continued economic growth. The government is therefore focused on upgrading the quality of education at all levels. ξ There are approximately 21 million school students in Egypt, of which 18 million are enrolled in government schools and 3 million in private schools. The number of schools increased from 11,000 in 1990 to 44,000 at present. Schools are being upgraded at the rate of 10% each year with modern educational facilities including computers, multimedia laboratories, Internet and satellite educational channels. ξ The number of university students in 2009 was 2.5 million, up from 1.3 million in 2001. There are about 476 government and private universities, faculties, and institutes in Egypt. ξ To date, 600,000 teachers have been trained via distance-learning programs using video conferencing. ξ The Government of Egypt (GOE) has increased the importance of education reform and equipment upgrading. ξ Financing for these initiatives is made available through local sources, bilateral donors including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), DANIDA (Denmark), CIDA (Canada), Jaica (Japan), and multilateral donors including the UNDP, African Development Bank, and African Development Fund, the Kuwaiti Development Fund, IBRD, and World Bank, which finance projects with training components. ξ The Education sector in Egypt matters in its own right as a potentially valuable market for UK education service and equipment suppliers. ξ The British education system is highly respected in Egypt. There are various “international schools” which use IGCSEs, and many influential Egyptians have benefited from a UK University education. ξ From a focus which was previously primarily on provision of educational equipment and resources – classroom equipment, books, educational ICT etc… There has been a move towards services, and more engagement particularly in the vocational, technical and continuing education sector. ξ Vocational training in particular, or skills for employment, has rightly been placed at the very top of the reform agenda. Vocational and technical education and training (TVET) is increasingly the focus of the Egyptian government, and of NGOs and other bodies involved in international assistance and partnership programmes. ξ UK industry is actively engaged in technology and knowledge transfer across many sectors by virtue of its business activities in Egypt. UK companies based in Egypt have a strong interest in contributing to the skills agenda. The Egyptian British Business Council is increasingly focussed on how it can take forward the skills agenda, including its backing for the bilateral framework signed by TVET UK in January 2009. The big UK investors are integrating skills training into their Corporate Social Responsibility programmes. The British Council has engagement right across the education spectrum in Egypt in all the key areas. The UK is well engaged in VET work in Egypt, either directly or indirectly. Key opportunities The Egyptian government is investing heavily in education and there are many opportunities for UK companies to form partnerships across the sector. This may include higher education, English-language training, leadership skills & development, and vocational training. Egypt offers potential for UK educational institutions and suppliers of products and services. But as is always the case with developing markets; success is likely to come to those who visit regularly, or have niche products/services/expertise which cannot be sourced locally. The Egyptian government is putting special emphasis on the technical and vocational education and training system. This should contribute towards the improvement and competitiveness of Egyptian enterprises and labour force skills. Egypt is open to foreign participation in both higher education and training for the demands of the global marketplace. Corporate education brands enjoy significant cachet, catering to a growing private sector appetite for courses. The range from driver-education and security training to high-end professional courses and seminars. Opportunities exist in the following areas: ξ TVET: There are synergies across a wide variety of sectors which the government has identified as requiring modernisation and up skilling. The concept of continuous professional development and training for Egyptian staff is still emerging, and there is a demand for competence-based training in all areas. There are opportunities for curricula work, other training and skills products from UK colleges, universities and the private corporate training sector. ξ Energy VET: This sub-sector is a promising one. A variety of technical and “soft” skills needs have been identified, which could be addressed by a variety of methods. These include: Tailored short courses, distance and blended learning and undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications. Areas include: petroleum economists, geologists, drilling & reservoir engineering, management skills & business awareness and project management engineers. There is a need to bridge the gap between university and industry. It takes an average of 2 years for fresh graduates to be “work useful”. ξ Educational equipment, services and methods: The government is focussing on a major schools building programme, and upgrading of existing schools. There is growing emphasis on the private education system, with a view to allowing more private schools and universities to be established. There are opportunities across the board, in the state and private sectors, from basic equipment and services to more sophisticated classroom technology, to the trend towards modern and progressive technologies and techniques such as blended learning, e-coaching, mentoring, web design etc. ξ English Language Skills (ELS): ELS are increasingly important for young adults entering further education if they are to succeed in the job market. English is increasingly the business language of Egypt. Although, Arabic is the official language, and is a core skill in the large tourism sector. This is a competitive market with many existing suppliers. But, demand will continue to grow, and recent research undertaken by the UKTI team indicates there are opportunities for UK suppliers with the right approach. ξ E-learning: The government’s e-learning initiative continues to be rolled out, and we envisage increasing use of LMS (Learning Management Systems), live e-learning, interactive whiteboard technology, games-based learning etc. ξ Consultancy: Egyptian authorities respect the UK’s expertise in all areas of education, training, up-skilling & technology transfer. Other areas include: ξ Leadership and personal development skills ξ Developing training programmes ξ Supply of educational materials and equipment ξ Partnerships with UK universities and institutions ξ E-based programs to enhance teacher performance Latest export opportunities in the Education sector Latest export opportunities in Egypt Getting into the market Egypt is an attractive market that can offer major business opportunities to informed traders and investors. Trade and investment between the UK and Egypt is promising. However it is not always an easy market. A successful entry into Egypt will be determined by the quality of the information and advice upon which the decision to enter is based. Continued success is also dependent upon the ability to navigate the laws and practices of Egypt. The Egyptian market requires careful study and a sustained sales effort. There is strong competition from other exporting countries. Price and credit terms are a deciding factor when obtaining contracts, though quality is increasingly important. Back-up servicing facilities and the supply of spare parts is also important. Having a local partner can be vital to successful penetration of this market. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, given the continuing bureaucracy, a local partner can shepherd the foreign business through the delays and obstacles. Secondly, foreign companies require a local agent to bid for government tenders. Thirdly, as the Egyptian market becomes more sophisticated there is a growing demand for after sales service, which a local agent can convincingly provide. In general, British products and services are very highly regarded in Egypt for their quality. The main obstacle facing the growth of British involvement in the Egyptian market is that British products have a reputation as being expensive compared to some foreign products. This view has lessened slightly over the past year as exchange rate fluctuations have been in favour of UK exporters. More about doing business in Egypt Contacts Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits through our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country - or contact your local international trade team. ξ Gary Hunt, British Embassy Cairo. Tel: (00202) 2791 6000 or email: Wafaa Saad, British Embassy Cairo. Tel: (00202) 2791 6000 or email: UKTI Events UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows. Latest events in the Education & Training sector Major Events Title: World of Learning 2 & 3 October 2012, Birmingham – UK IPSEF Int’l & Private Schools Education Forum 07-08 November 2012, London - UK The BETT Show, UAE 30 Jan - 2 Feb 2013, Excel – London Useful links More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters
Posted: 28 September 2012

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