Education in Egypt

As Egypt is an Islamic state there are both secular (public, private and international) and Islamic education options available.

Many foreigners chose to send their children to international secular institutions as they have the primary/secondary/ higher education structure found in many other nations and a far greater proportion of the teaching is conducted in English. As is the case in the vast majority of countries, international schools in Egypt charge high to exorbitant tuition fees but the standard of education is uniformly better.

Islamic education facilities cover the core subjects tackled by their secular counterparts but also teach Islamic and Quran studies. Boys and girls are taught at separate institutions. Islamic schools are mainly attended by those planning on entering careers based in religion.

The standard of teaching in public schools is often sub-par due to poor structuring and the low wages received by most teachers. However, high-standard international schools are numerous in larger cities like Cairo and Alexandria.

Theoretically education in Egypt is compulsory until the age of 14. In reality many children from poorer families leave school earlier than this in order to begin working.

Kindergarten is available to most children from the age of four but academic learning doesn’t really begin during this level of instruction. In Egypt Kindergarten is a time for developing emotionally and physically.

In Primary schools the day typically begins and ends earlier than in schools in Western nations. Science and maths are often not taught until the second 2 years of primary school as the first two years are primarily dedicated to learning how to read and write. Currently less than 50 percent of Egyptian children progress far beyond primary school.

Whether or not a child is suitable to go on to the academic level of secondary education (rather than the vocational) depends on the results they achieve in the standardized exam taken at the end of primary education.

If the child does well they take the academic track and are prepared for higher education. On successful completion of this track the student receives a Basic Education Completion Certificate.

Less academic children take the vocational track where instruction is more trade/career focused. If they complete this track successfully they receive a Certificate in Basic Vocational Education.

If, after completing secondary education, the student wishes to progress to University they will have both public and private institutions available to them.

In these universities some subjects are taught in English but others are taught in Arabic. Foreign students usually try to gain a place at the American University in Cairo which teaches all of its highly regarded courses in English.