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Saturday, 15 December 2018

Interview: Head of Egypt's new state academy to train future leaders

Rascha Ragheb, executive director of the National Training Academy, tells Shady Zalata about the academy’s major activities and its role in organising the World Youth Forum

Shady Zalata , Friday 2 Nov 2018
Rascha Ragheb
Rascha Ragheb, executive director of the National Training Academy
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The decision to establish the National Training Academy (NTA) was one of the most significant recommendations of the first National Youth Conference held in Sharm El-Sheikh in November 2016.

It falls within the framework of the state’s focus on “building the Egyptian citizen”. The academy carries on work initiated by the Presidential Programme for grooming young people for leadership roles which began in September 2015.

NTA was created by a presidential decree in August 2017 to become a scientific institution to train youth for public service, as well as to improve their abilities and skills and produce cadres capable of holding leading posts in state sectors.

Located on the outskirts of Cairo in 6 October city, the academy, over 10,000 square metres, consists of six buildings designed after the French National School of Administration, known as École nationale d’administration (ÉNA).

Rascha Ragheb, NTA executive director, comes from a background of focusing on human development through education, learning and training because she is a strong believer that the human being is the real wealth of a country.

To achieve this, she relied on exchanging international experiences, transferring up-to-date trends in education and training from the developed countries to the least developed and adjusting these international programmes and expertise to fit the needs of those least developed.

Ragheb has held several posts and consulting tasks with various regional and international institutions including vice president of the European ESLSCA University (L’École Supérieure Libre des Sciences Commerciales Appliquées), for Strategic Planning and Development in Africa and the Middle East region and dean of the ESLSCA International Business School in Uganda.

She was also director of regional and international relations in the Banking Academy in Jordan and head of the Small and Medium Enterprises Centre in Jordan.

What has been accomplished in the year since the establishment of the academy?

Throughout a whole year the academy’s programmes were developed and many students were received on the academy’s premises whether from the Presidential Programme or from the state’s administrative apparatus.

What are the admission’s criteria?

There is no one criterion for joining the academy; each programme has its own criteria.

The academy provides several programmes, including the Presidential Programme for qualifying youth for leadership and various programmes for leaders in the state’s administrative apparatus or nominees to be appointed or be promoted within it.

The academy also plans to provide several other programmes and training certificates.

What is the nature of studying in the academy?

Studying in the academy differs from one programme to another in terms of depth, time span and the nature of education.

However, all the programmes use practical applied and research methods at the hands of expert practitioners.

Programme design is made to build human beings culturally, artistically, literarily and politically.

Teaching at the academy takes place by Egyptian experts with international expertise.

Moreover, regional and international partnerships for transferring the latest expertise and updates in the field of international programmes and education methods are among the main objectives of the academy in the coming period.

What are the most prominent programmes provided by the academy for next year?

Next year students will be provided with many programmes such as the joint programme with the ÉNA which aims at qualifying leaders within the administrative apparatus.

One of the programmes provided by the academy is the Presidential programme which began as an initiative before the establishment of the academy.

Next year there will be the African Presidential Programme, Advanced Presidential Programme and the Executive Presidential Programme.

There will also be various other programmes in the fields of modern technology, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Shall we see the academy’s graduates in leading state posts after their graduation?

They are already occupying leading posts whether in the private sector, in international companies or within the state’s administrative apparatus.

The main message of the academy is to build the Egyptian citizen, qualify and enable him to work and be productive in any sector.

Is it possible that we will see a role for the academy in political life in the future, especially concerning the formation of political parties?

I don’t think this will happen in a direct way. However, qualified graduates will mean the existence of cadres who are aware of the current and future situation and capable of taking decisions. That’s why nations need to build real political awareness.

NTA reports directly to the presidency and enjoys the sponsorship and support of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. Did the president meet the academy’s students?

Regular meetings between President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and the youth take place in the form of monthly youth conferences and “Ask the President” which is one of the ideas of students in the Presidential Programme.

The World Youth Forum is also the outcome of ideas of the Presidential Programme students.

What’s the role of the academy in this year’s forum?

The students and graduates of the academy’s Presidential Programme organise the World Youth Forum down to the minutest detail.

Will the World Youth Forum be held annually under the academy’s supervision?

The World Youth Forum is one of the NTA’s activities along with education, training and consultancy.

 

* A version of this article appears in print in the 1 November, 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Educating tomorrow’s leaders 

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