For smarter generations

Reem Leila , Tuesday 30 Jan 2024

Plans are underway to expand the STEM educational system, reports Reem Leila

in 2023, there were 20 STEM schools in 18 governorates
in 2023, there were 20 STEM schools in 18 governorates


At least one Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) school will be built in every governorate in the next few years, Ministry of Education Reda Hegazi announced this week.

STEM schools focus on developing higher-order thinking skills, problem-solving, and addressing major challenges, especially in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.

Hegazi was addressing “Reality and Aspirations”, a conference held by the ministry in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to highlight the Egyptian STEM education model, which is based on scientific research and learning through projects.

STEM schools were launched in 2011 and by 2023 the number had reached 20 in 18 governorates, with 5,000 students enrolled. In addition to plans to increase the number of schools, the ministry plans to expand adopting strategies for scientific research and project-based learning in the general education transition years, Hegazi said. Furthermore, in accordance with the country’s directives, preparations are underway to introduce other STEM school models, especially in the secondary stage.

Ministry of Education Spokesman Shadi Zalata said the conference presented future visions for collaboration among stakeholders.

Discussions included ways to expand the setting up of these types of schools in all governorates. The conference also explored implementing some aspects of STEM in various stages of education, Zalata added.

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ayman Ashour, who attended the conference, reviewed the steps taken by universities to benefit STEM graduates and integrate them into university programmes that enhance their skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

In 2023, 1,100 students graduated from science and 708 from mathematics in the STEM system and joined various programmes in medical and engineering specialisations, Ashour said.

“This type of education is a dream for any student. It involves transitioning to a different educational environment and prepares students for the job market,” said Sami Abdel-Qader, a STEM student who was attending the conference.

Ashour said the ministry had introduced interdisciplinary academic programmes, including programmes in environmental engineering, bioinformatics, and cognitive sciences. These programmes provide opportunities for outstanding students in science and technology to pursue their innovations, said the minister while emphasising the ministry’s commitment to realising integration between higher education and pre-university education to graduate students equipped with the necessary skills for the job market.

USAID Mission Director Sean Jones said during the conference that USAID believes that investing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education is one of the best ways to help prepare the coming generations of Egypt’s leaders to build a more prosperous future for all. “The USAID has partnered with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education to establish 20 STEM high schools all over the country and is working with Egyptian universities to better prepare STEM teachers and school leaders for the challenges of tomorrow,” Jones said.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 1 February, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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