Towards better higher education

Reem Leila , Tuesday 5 Mar 2024

A new study says Egypt’s higher education is notably improving

Towards better higher education


Throughout the past decade, the government has been working on improving higher education, either by increasing the number of universities or conducting various partnerships with other universities, reports Reem Leila. A recent study by the British Council in Egypt on transitional education in Egypt revealed the operating environment, delivery models, and partnership opportunities.

The number of universities throughout the past 10 years in Egypt has doubled to accommodate the annual increase in student enrollment. According to the study, in 2014 there were 2.3 million students enrolled in 50 universities across the country. The number increased to 3.3 million students in 92 universities at the end of 2022, studying in 28 public universities, 27 private universities, and 20 non-profit universities which are partially funded by the government. In addition, there are 10 technology universities, six of which opened in 2022-23.

Collaboration with foreign universities has extended to the establishment of branch campuses in Egypt. Notably, there are seven branches belonging to prominent foreign universities in the New Administrative Capital, providing distinctive educational programmes catering to local, regional, and international markets.

The spokesman of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research Adel Abdel-Ghaffar said the government increased the budget for higher education from LE24.5 billion in 2014 to LE85.7 billion in 2023.

Abdel-Ghaffar said Egypt was aiming to pioneer a fourth generation of universities as part of its national strategy for the 2030 target in higher education and scientific research. “This strategy aims for a graduate workforce capable of meeting the demands of an innovative and creative job market. The establishment of technological universities, with 10 such institutions launched thus far, covers a range of future-oriented disciplines. Additionally, an academic-industrial alliance has been formed between various universities and the Suez Canal Economic Zone, prioritising research agendas for key projects,” Abdel-Ghaffar told Al-Ahram Weekly.

The educational institutions are under the umbrella of the ministry and reinforced by four executive entities: hte Supreme Council of Universities, the Supreme Council of Private Universities, the Council of Foreign Universities, and the Supreme Council of Technical Institutes, which are in charge of carrying out higher education programmes and keeping an eye on and verifying the results of each institution.

Egypt’s expansion of the higher education system, according to the study, coincides with its Vision 2030 which calls for top-notch education and training that will give students the tools they need to think creatively and give them technical and technological empowerment. The three main goals of Egypt’s Vision 2030 are integrating educational institutions, establishing a strong global presence and encouraging investment in education, and enhancing the role of scientific and higher education research institutions in bolstering innovation and entrepreneurship.

In this regard, the study pointed out that higher education has reaffirmed its dedication to giving international components top priority. The goal of many of these institutions has been to become globally competitive and recognised, the study said.

According to the report, the ministry has set seven goals for higher education that must be met by 2030. Among them is increasing the number of international students by 100 per cent between 2022 and 2030. In 2022, there were 90,000 international students in Egypt. It also aims to have 10 Egyptian universities among the top 500 worldwide. It also intends to decrease graduate unemployment, which was 38 per cent in 2021. The ministry also wants to see growth in the entrepreneurial endeavours of graduates.

Abdel-Ghaffar noted that the number of Egyptian universities listed in the QS World University Rankings increased from five in 2017 to 14 in 2023. Cairo University topped the list of Egyptian universities, ranking 330 globally. Mansoura University followed at 364 globally, the American University in Cairo at 609 globally, and Ain Shams University at 695 globally.

The number of Egyptian universities listed in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings rose from three in 2016 to 36 in 2023. Egypt is globally ranked 24 from the previous 37 in scientific research owing to a substantial increase in international research publications in Egyptian universities.

It is evident that Egypt’s higher education is drastically changing, and the ministry is committed to raising the standard and capabilities of education in Egypt to guarantee that it satisfies global standards, establishes closer ties with other universities and, if feasible, turns Egypt into a centre of international education by utilising its advantageous location as a link between the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa, the study said.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 7 March, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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