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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
Title: World of Learning
2 & 3 October 2012, Birmingham – UK www.learnevents.com
IPSEF Int’l & Private Schools Education Forum
07-08 November 2012, London - UK http://www.ipsef.net/
The BETT Show, UAE
30 Jan - 2 Feb 2013, Excel – London http://www.bettshow.com/
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters