British Council’s chief executive visits Egypt for the first time

Ahram Online , Sunday 16 Jan 2022

Scott McDonald, the chief executive of the British Council, made his first visit to Egypt since his appointment on 11 January to review the British Council’s work in the country.

Scott McDonald
Chief Executive of the British Council Scott McDonald visits the Pyramids

The British Council’s activities in Egypt include ensuring greater access to the English language and UK education, qualifications, arts, and culture.

McDonald also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Al-Azhar and the British Council.

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McDonald made an auspicious start to his three-day visit by meeting with the Grand Imam Ahmed El-Ṭayeb to discuss future cooperation between the British Council and Al-Azhar, where the grand imam emphasised the importance of this long-term partnership that began in 2007.

Towards the end of the meeting, the British Council and Al-Azhar’s academic co-operation was renewed by signing a new three-year MoU between the two parties, which aims to strengthen existing areas of work in addition to addressing other emerging needs related to teachers’ English language proficiency, climate education and English as a medium of instruction.

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McDonald then had the chance to visit the British Council in Egypt’s offices, the oldest British Council office overseas and the largest teaching centre.

He also got the opportunity to see how exams are delivered and the integrity of the processes in place to deliver UK exams to a very high standard. British Council Egypt delivers nearly 150,000 exams annually.

Furthermore, he reviewed how the British Council’s teaching centres served tens of thousands of students per year, and how it is developing the English language competency of students with disabilities as part of wider CSR programmes.

“This is an inspiring country with inspiring people, and some fantastic work is happening between Egypt and the UK. It is my first time in Egypt, and I’m already captivated by the country and people and the Pyramids! The British Council in Egypt has been open since 1938 and has a long history of building trust between the UK and Egypt,” said McDonald.

“Despite the obstacles created by the pandemic, it’s been wonderful to see during my visit that we are still able to connect with millions of students, educators, academics, creators, and entrepreneurs — often in new and innovative ways — and build links with the UK for the benefit of all.”

“I’ve seen first-hand how our focus here in Egypt on providing opportunities for young people, especially women and girls, supports them to achieve the education, qualifications and skills needed to reach their potential in future careers and life,” he added.

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During McDonald’s visit, he also met with a diverse group of British Council partners and beneficiaries, where he got the opportunity to talk to inspiring young people, entrepreneurs, scholars, artists, and scientists, and understand how the opportunities provided by the British Council and their cultural programmes with the UK add value to both the UK and Egypt in terms of connecting people, developing mutual understanding, and building trust between the two countries.

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