Egypt Programme Profile: Education


Egypt Programme Profile: Education

© ©UNICEF/Egypt 2005/ Giacomo Pirozzi

Current Situation

Egypt has made significant progress towards achieving the Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly in expanding access to basic education, and closing the gap between boys’ and girls’ enrollment. For the school year 2012/13, the net enrolment rate in primary education was 93.3%[1] while that in preparatory school was lower at 83.7%. Despite this overall progress, socio-economic, geographical factors and gender disparities continue to affect access to primary education.

According to the census, in 2006, the percentage of children between the age 6-17 years who never enrolled or who have dropped out of basic education was 8.1%, equivalent to around 1.4 million children[2]. Most of these children come from poor families; live in remote rural communities; are working children, and children with disabilities.

The pre-school education system, where children are prepared physically, socially and cognitively for the rest of their education, is underdeveloped and is mainly an urban phenomenon. About 23.7% of children aged 4-5 are enrolled in pre-schools, which is far from the national goal of 60% enrollment.   

The quality of education remains a major challenge that hinders the capacity of children to develop to their full potential.

Students suffer from rigid conventional style teaching techniques in which participation is not encouraged and corporal punishment is commonly applied. The school environment adversely affects completion rates; around one in five school buildings are not fit for use and lack functional water and sanitation facilities. Until 2012, less than 10% of the total number of schools met the national standards for quality education[5].

UNICEF’s Interventions

The long-term partnership between UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and civil society has resulted in modelling best practices and supporting the national capacity to scale-up. The education programme has three main strategic interventions contributing to the national efforts to increase the access of girls and boys age 4-14 to quality education, with a focus on reaching children in disadvantaged areas, to increase school attendance and retention, completion and achievement rates, reducing the gender disparity, and improving children's developmental readiness to start primary school on time.

1. Early Childhood Development (ECD);

The aim of the intervention is to improve school readiness among children age 4-5 years, with focus on disadvantaged areas. UNICEF supports the Ministry of Education and NGOs to scale up school based and community models of pre-primary education. To improve teacher performance, UNICEF is supporting MoE to strengthen its professional development system through developing standardized teacher’s performance observation tools, training manuals, and a skilled cadre of trainers nationwide. A quality assurance system to assess the level of developmental readiness of children to start school at age 6 is being developed to be applied regularly to ensure quality.

2. Community Based Education (CBE);

UNICEF, in partnership with MoE, NGOs, and local communities, has established a community based education initiative for primary school children. This initiative targets out of school children in rural areas with particular focus on girls. The initiative demonstrates child friendly schools model that is safe, healthy, gender sensitive, participative, stimulating, and encourages community involvement. UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Education and NGOs society to scale up this model through community mobilization, school rehabilitation, provision of furniture and learning aids and teacher training. At the policy level, UNICEF is supporting the development and dissemination of national standards for quality community based education and improving statistical information and analysis on out of school children to scrutinize factors of exclusion from schooling, and to develop relevant policies and strategies to guide effective education sector reform initiatives.

3. Inclusive Education;

The inclusive education intervention aims to enhance the capacity of MoE at local level to plan and implement school based reform and to scale up child friendly inclusive schools model in accordance with the National Education Standards for accreditation. Inclusive education is adopted as a comprehensive approach to promote school based child friendly learning environments for all children, particularly children with disabilities and girls, through respect for differences, variations in teaching methods, safe and stimulating learning environment, open and flexible curricula, involvement of parents and modifications in school policies and strategies. This will be achieved through strengthening school leadership, teacher training, provision of learning materials and supervision, monitoring and evaluation systems.

Programme Expected Results (2013-2017)

  • School-based and community models of quality pre-primary education scaled up.
  •  A national quality assurance system for community based education developed.
  • 4,500 Out of school girls and boys newly enrolled in community schools during the period 2013-2017 in Assiut and Sohag.
  • Children with learning difficulties, mental and physical disabilities are benefiting from inclusion programme of children with special needs, in primary schools in Cairo, Assiut and Sohag governorates.
  • National strategy for inclusive education for children with special needs developed and adopted.

[1] Ministry of Education, Statistical Yearbook 2012-2013

[2]CAPMAS, Census 2006.

[3] Education  Monitoring Information System, 2008/09

[4] Gender Parity Index (GPI) is the ratio of female to male gross enrolment rates. A GPI of 1 indicates parity between the sexes. A GPI lower than 1 indicates a disadvantage of girls in enrolment. The GPI is calculated from the enrolment data extracted from the MOE Statistical Yearbook 2012-2013.

[5] National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation  NAQAA list of accredited schools in Egypt  2013. Retrieved from



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