Off to university in Egypt: New options this year!

Reem Leila , Friday 18 Aug 2023

Students who have passed grade 12 exams are now applying for universities. Al-Ahram Weekly reports on the available alternatives.

Thanawya Amma  graduates have  a lot of new univeristies to chose from
Thanawya Amma graduates have a lot of new univeristies to chose from


Thanawiya Amma (12th grade) students who passed this year’s exams have been searching for the faculties they desire, whether at public, non-profit, or private universities.

Students apply for public universities via the office of admission to public universities (tanseeq), while students who do not want to join public universities apply directly to private and non-profit universities.

In choosing, students look for specialties demanded in the job market, a task that is getting easier as universities of all kinds are offering new majors that cater to the demand for new specialties, including artificial intelligence.  

Results of the first phase of tanseeq covering more than 112,000 students with the highest grades were announced on 14 August. Students who graduated from science and math sections with a minimum score of 91.34 per cent will be able to join the faculties of medicine, while those who received 90.97 per cent can join dentistry. Physiotherapy requires a minimum of 90.12 per cent, and pharmacy 89.51 per cent.

The minimum admission limit for faculties of engineering is 85 per cent, and for urban planning 83.41 per cent.

Meanwhile, students of literature with a minimum of 86.46 per cent of the total grade can join the faculties of politics and economics, while that of Al-Alsun is 84.51 per cent, mass communication 83.65 per cent, and antiquities 80.73 per cent.

Ten new faculties were founded at public universities and will start receiving students by the beginning of the upcoming academic year. The creation of these universities and faculties is considered part of a strategy to create a new generation of universities focusing on scientific subjects that can keep up with the quickly changing business market.

Among the faculties that have been introduced to this year’s Thanawiya Amma students is artificial intelligence at 10 public universities in Cairo, Banha, Marsa Matrouh, Sohag and Kafr Al-Sheikh.

This is in addition to the introduction of the Faculty of Nanotechnology at Cairo University, and the Egyptian-Korean Faculty of Industrial Technology and Renewable Energy at Beni Sweif Technology University.

The name of the faculty of computer science and information at Helwan has also been changed to the Faculty of AI.

Several new specialties and majors have been introduced in accordance with the transformation taking place in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence.

The AI major is also available at Alamein International University (AIU). “Marsa Matrouh and Alamein universities were created to serve students residing in the north of Egypt.

Around 3,000 students were enrolled last year at the AIU, whereas 1,500 joined Marsa Matrouh University.

These numbers are expected to increase this year, especially after the introduction of the university’s AI Faculty in both universities,” Adel Abdel-Ghaffar, the spokesman for the Ministry of Education, said, adding that AIU was created in accordance with the government’s goal to transform Alamein into an all-year residential city, not just a summer resort.

Among the newly introduced private universities in Egypt is a branch of the British ßUniversity of Hertfordshire (UH) that will be available for students starting this academic year. Students will be able to apply to any of its six faculties: medical sciences, business, engineering, creative arts, mass communication, and physiotherapy.

Also, a presidential decree this month approved the establishment of Al-Sewedy University of Technology (SUT) Polytechnic Egypt. The university offers a four-year bachelor’s degree of Engineering Technology and a certificate of merit in an integrated set of practical and theoretical learning that is in line with market needs, a press release said. Its educational system will be linked with the labour market and its evolving requirements.

It places substantial emphasis on practical training, constituting a substantial 60 per cent of the academic curriculum, according to President of SUT- Polytechnic Egypt University Ayman Bahaa.

A polytechnic student, according to CEO of Al-Sewedy ED Tech Hanan Al-Rihani, is connected to the work market from day one. “From the very first day at university a student is working in the field he intends to work in after graduation,” so a student’s training process that usually takes longer after graduation in conventional education is within the educational curriculum in Egypt and abroad, Al-Rihani said.

Unlike public universities, where education is free for all students according to the Egyptian constitution, non-profit universities charge tuition. They are, however, reasonably priced, which is not always the case at private universities. Non-profit university tuition fees are meant to cover the running expenses of the facilities which offer educational services.

According to Abdel-Ghaffar, the curricula of these universities meet international standards. The fees paid by students cover employees, staff members and lab expenses, as well as the cost of introducing new majors and collaborations with foreign universities. “The government is already covering around 40 per cent to 60 per cent of the educational cost of the newly introduced universities,” Abdel-Ghaffar said.

Abdel-Ghaffar noted that the new universities and faculties with their novel majors aim to reduce the demand on traditional universities and their conventional majors.

“The Supreme Council for Universities [SCU] previously approved the minimum of student admission grades for non-profit universities at five per cent lower than the minimum grades required for admission to private universities in a corresponding faculty, given that students must pass its aptitude tests. Private universities for their part accept lesser grades than those of public universities by five per cent to 10 per cent,” added Abdel-Ghaffar.

Despite the fact that these educational institutes present to students traditional majors such as medicine and engineering, most of them focus on technological and science-related majors such as computer science and artificial intelligence, health sciences technology, and metals.

As for fees, the lowest tuition fees for studying medicine at non-profit national universities range between LE90,000 and LE100,000 per semester; the lowest at private universities hover between LE135,000 and LE150,000. The highest tuition fees at private universities in Egypt are LE330,000 a semester.

Getting high grades to guarantee joining the faculties they want is usually the main concern of Thanawiya Amma students. According to educational expert Magdi Hamza, most students aspire to be enrolled in a top faculty but not all of them fulfil their desires.

“This year there are many alternatives presented to students. For example, the alternative for the faculty of engineering is that of fine arts, as most of its majors resemble that of engineering. There are also other alternatives for engineering such as computer science and information as well as artificial intelligence.  

Hamza said the best advice for students while selecting a suitable faculty is to choose the faculty according to the requirements of the labour market. Hamza called on families to encourage their children to search for real opportunities and refrain from looking for the stereotypical faculties such as medicine and engineering and focus instead on majors that would secure the student’s future.

*Additional reporting by Mai Samih

* A version of this article appears in print in the 17 August, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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