Egypt’s Education System is a combination of three cultural and religious heritages, namely Islamic (traditional) secular Egyptian (Westernized) and British (neo-colonial). The socio-economic status of the people of Egypt is reflected in the education system which is undergirded by a firm belief that education is extremely crucial for the national development of the country and its citizenry. Education in Egypt is key in terms of academic achievement and also in instilling cultural values which act as a strong force in bringing about individual development and character.
The Al-Azhar University mosque plays a pivotal role in shaping Egypt’s educational, religious and cultural life. The Al-Azhar curriculum is a parallel Islamic academic system where the curriculum is same as the normal public curriculum withthe exception of a stronger emphasis on learning the Qur’an and studying Islamic theology.
Egyptian Education: Four Divisions
Egypt’s Education System follows a 6+3+3 format. The categorization consists of six years of primary education, three years of secondary education and three years of senior secondary education. Students from six to twelve attend primary education where Arabic, mathematics, English, religious studies, music and science are all compulsory. Agriculture as a subject gets introduced in Grade 4 and Grade 5 and more subjects get added such as arts, social studies, and home economics. The curriculum generally remains the same in the Al-Azhar schools only with an added emphasis on Islamic studies.
The preparatory secondary education level is meant for students from 12 to 15 years. It is the final level of the basic Egypt Education System covering Grade 6 through Grade 8. The curriculum includes Arabic, industrial education, art, English, agriculture, mathematics, religious studies, music and social studies. Some schools also offer other languages such as French or Spanish at this stage. Similar to the primary level, even in the second level the Al-Azhar schools follow the same curriculum but just with a greater emphasis in Islamic studies.
After completing nine years of compulsory basic education students receive their Basic Education Certificate or the Al-Azhar Basic Education Certificate. Such students are then eligible for admission to an Al-Azhar secondary school, a technical secondary school, or a general upper secondary school. Lasting for three years, the upper secondary school is for students from 15 to 18 years. There are three main types of secondary schools:
- General Secondary Education Schools or the ones that offer educational programs preparing students for university education.
- Secondary Education Schools or the ones that offer educational programs with a stronger emphasis on Islamic teachings and the Qur’an.
- Technical Secondary Schools or the ones that offer technical as well as vocational courses and enable students to specialize in one out of three streams namely Technical, Industrial or Agricultural.
The education system in Egypt also has a system for higher education. Eligible students can successfully complete secondary school and go on to complete university to obtain a Technical Diploma (Diplom al-Fanni) and Higher Diploma of Technology, Bachelor Degree, Graduate Diploma, Master Degree and also Doctoral Degree.