Education Sector in Egypt

Understanding Middle East Education

Egypt has the largest education system in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

In 2016/17, the total enrolment at the K-121 level amounted to 20.6 million, while total enrolment at the Higher Education (HE) level amounted to 2.4 million students2. Egypt represents an excellent opportunity for investors and education providers looking for growth in the MENA region due to favourable investment fundamentals and conditions which include:

  • A sustainable demand for education due to steady population growth, in a culture that has long valued education as the means to social and economic mobility
  • An improving macroeconomic setting showing strong signs of recovery
  • The Government of Egypt (GoE) actively encouraging private-sector participation to help relieve budgetary strains
  • A stable institutional setting owing to the maturity of Egypt’s education system3
  • A need for investment in bridging skills gaps through vocational training and enhanced higher education offerings

Whilst there is a lot to cover in the Egyptian education system, we have chosen to focus on two main topics in this report:

  1. The status of Egypt’s education system across its multiple stages
  2. The opportunity for growth in private provision

Overview of the Education System

There is a strong reliance on the government as the main education provider in Egypt. In 2016/17, 90% of the total K-12 student population attend public schools and 94% of total HE students attend public universities4.

The GoE’s Education Strategy in Vision 2030 acknowledges that the system is yet to deliver high quality education which is essential to meet the country’s labour market needs and respond to the evolving social and political systems. The Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MoETE) developed an education reform program (2018-30) with a total expected cost of USD 2 billion.

Figure 1: Structure of the Egyptian Education System

Figure 1: Egypt’s Education System’s Structure

Source: CAPMAS Statistical yearbook 2018

Figure 2: Figure 2: Student Enrolment between 2008/09 and 2017/18 (in millions)6

Students Enrolment in Millions between 2008/09 and 2017/18

Source: CAPMAS Statistical yearbook 2018

Over the last decade, enrolment in Egypt’s K-12 education system grew by 32% with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8%. Excluding religious education in the Al-Azharite system and technical secondary education, there are 19.4 million students enrolled in Egypt’s general education system. Net enrolment in primary and secondary stages reached 97% and 81%, respectively, well above the global averages of 89% for primary education and 66% for secondary education5.

Such rapid growth in enrolment has ultimately affected learning outcomes as it placed increasing pressures on school facilities and in some occasions necessitated the hiring of insufficiently qualified teachers. Moreover, demand for education surpasses the current level of available resources which adversely affects quality of service provision. While Egypt is ranked among top performing economies in enrolment particularly at the primary level, it is consistently ranked amongst the poorest performing economies in education quality

Table 1: The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017/18, Progress in International Reading Literacy Report 2016 and United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report 2017 

Enrolment Quality
Indicator Rank/137 Indicator Rank/137
Primary education enrolment 33 Quality of primary education
Secondary education enrolment 84 Overall quality of the education system 130
Tertiary education enrolment 76 The PIRLS 2016 (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) Grade 4 results 60 (out of 61 participating countries)
    Human Development Index (2017)7 115 (out of 189 participating countries)

Figure 3: 8th Grade TIMSS Maths and Science Achievement in 20158

Source: TMISS 2015 International Results in Mathematics Report and TMISS 2015 International  Results in Science Report

Source: TMISS 2015 International Results in Mathematics Report and TMISS 2015 International Results in Science Report

Egypt’s performance in 8th grade TIMSS in 2015, similar to other countries in the region, was poor. The results also showed no significant improvement relative to 2007 results. Only 1 in 20 Egyptian 14 year olds reached a high level of science ability compared to over 50% in many top performing countries in Asia.

The MoETE’s education reform strategy aims to improve the above mentioned learning outcomes through the following two approaches9:

  1. EDU 1.0 which includes a set of initiatives aiming to structurally adjust and reform the existing education system
  2. EDU 2.0 which includes a set of bold interventions that aim to improve educational outcomes and modernise the education system to deliver on Egypt Vision 2030 targets

The reform program, which began implementation in the academic year starting in September 2018, adopts modern technology for teaching and learning, student assessment and data collection. Some of the associated interventions include:

  • The Egyptian Knowledge Bank: an online library archive that is accessible with national ID and provides educational, research and cultural resources to all citizens.
  • Technology based learning: nationwide distribution of one million tablets among 10th grade students, teachers and school directors with relevant content to improve learning engagement.
  • Modernised student assessment: the reform program changed the assessment method for national high school (Thanawiya Amma) certificate, which determines the education pathways students will follow - end of year exams at G10-12 have been replaced with a cumulative 3 year GPA. To avoid any potential leaks of exam questions, paper exams will be replaced by electronic tests which improve and standardise student evaluation.

1 Total K-12 student enrolment in public and private schools. Enrolment at the General Education stages, excluding religious education in the Al-Azharite system and technical secondary education, amounted to 19.4 million
2 Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) Statistical Yearbook 2018
3 Egypt has one of the oldest universities in the world (Al-Azhar)
4 CAPMAS Statistical Yearbook 2018
5 CAPMAS Statistical Yearbook 2018
6 Student enrolment in both public and private schools, preparatory student enrolment in general, professional and sports education
7 Egypt’s HDI value for 2017 is 0.696— which put the country in the medium human development category
8 TIMSS is undertaken every 4 years and therefore provides an important rolling view of how the education system is performing. The next TIMSS test will take place in 2019
9 The World Bank, Supporting Egypt Education Reform Project, 2017

Contact us

Sally Jeffery

Global Education & Skills Network Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 (0)56 6820539

Maged EzzEldeen

Country Senior Partner – Deals Leader, PwC Egypt

Tel: +20 122 3421 386

Tom Harrison

Director, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 (0) 4 304 3933

Yomna Nassar

Senior Consultant, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 (0) 50 722 3468

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