In the last two years the Ministry of Education has established 10 public schools that offer either the British IG certificate or the American diploma.
Five of the new public international schools were inaugurated last year, in Nasr City, 6 October, New Cairo, Alexandria and Damietta, and a further five opened this year.
The Ministry of Education plans to gradually increase the number of affiliated international schools until they cover all governorates.
Reda Hegazi, head of the Public Education Sector at the ministry, says the fees charged by affiliated international schools will be affordable for a large segment of society.
“The ministry has set LE15,000 for KG1 and 16,050 for KG2 and grade one. Fees will increase by seven per cent annually. They do not include books and activities expenses. The schools will resemble private international schools. Many parents will be eager to enrol their children because the fees are eminently reasonable when compared to the private equivalent.”
Private schools teaching international curricula have grown in popularity as parents worry about the deteriorating quality of education and overcrowded classrooms in state schools. The price tag, though, can be high, in some cases costing more than LE100,000 a year.
The ministry’s affiliated international schools, says Hegazi, aim to provide a distinctive educational curricula, preparing students for the future, providing them with life skills that are reflected in their behaviour, encouraging them to think and solve problems and developing a sense of loyalty and belonging all in a fun learning environment.
The new schools are being created in cooperation with the International School Owners Association (ISOA).
ISOA member Nadia Hafez says the association will help in preparing classes and selecting and training teachers, in cooperation with the General Authority for Educational Buildings.
“Selected teachers will receive two months’ training in the new system,” she says.
The first international school affiliated to the ministry opened last year in New Cairo.
“It proved a great success. Parents and students are happy with the new experiment, and in cooperation with the ministry, we intend to increase the number of these schools and equip them with the most advanced tools,” says Hafez.
Each of the existing international schools has four KG1 classes, four KG2 classes and two grade one classes. Marwa Mashali, the mother of a five-year-old boy, says the schools are a brilliant solution for parents.
“The fees are affordable and the schools offer quality education, at a time when private international school fees are skyrocketing,” says Mashali.
Ministry of Education Spokesperson Mahmoud Hassouna says that in the last year the Ministry of Education has signed cooperation agreements with a number of international educational institutions to help establish schools offering a distinctive educational service at affordable rates.
The ministry has a website for its new international schools which can be accessed at http://cairomoe.net/international-schools.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 14 November, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the title: Affordable international education