Context of Higher Education

  • Typical Academic Year: The academic year runs from September until June, with a break in January. The school/study week runs from Saturday until Thursday morning. University examinations are conducted in June, with supplementary exams in September and January.
  • Typical student demographics and/or trends: Egypt has a very extensive higher education system. About 30 percent of all Egyptians in the relevant age group go to university. However, only half of them graduate. In Egypt, higher education expansion over the past decade and a half has proven demographically necessary. Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) estimates that the total population grew 37 percent between 1996 and 2006. In 2012, youth (25 years old and younger) represented 60 percent of the country’s population of 82.3 million. As of 2013, there are over 17 million students in different schools across the nation and 1.6 million students are enrolled at the university level. The state’s expenditure on university education in 2012-2013 amounted to 21.1 percent of the total state expenditure on education. In Egypt, public education throughout university is almost free, with roughly 1.4 and 1.7 and million students enrolled in public high schools and universities in 2014, respectively. Across all public schools, it is estimated that there are in excess of 17 million students (CAPMAS 2014). With such numbers, the financial load that education represents can be appreciated (CAPMAS 2014). Given the limited resources available to the government, and that slightly over 3 percent of GDP is allocated on education, the current state of the education system is clearly struggling. The state’s expenditure on university education in 2012-2013 amounted to 21.1% of the total state expenditure on education.
  • Common language(s) of instruction: The language of instruction in higher education is Arabic, except at the following university faculties, where English is used: Dentistry, Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy, Architecture, Natural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine and English Language and Literature. Final theses and doctoral theses are typically written in Arabic, with an abstract in English. One exception to this rule is the American University of Cairo, where English is used as the language of instruction for all programs. French is the language of instruction at certain private universities as well., p.4