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Part- III  Distinguished Egyptian Achievements

The Egyptian Experience is Girls Education.

The Festival of reading for All.

Reading, Writing and Mathematics Skills Training (A pilot study)

The Egyptian Experience in Girls

Education in the Stage of Basic Education

One-Class Schools for Girls

Community Schools -Home Classes

In conformity with the resolutions adopted by the International Conference on " Education for All " concerning the provision of learning basic needs of children, youth and adults (Gometien, Thailand, March 1990), the Egyptian Ministry of Education has signed, (1992) an agreement with UNESCO for the establishment of local community schools, with the aim of narrowing the existing gap in education between males and females.
The main target of establishing the One-Class Schools and Community Schools was formulated within the proposed structural efforts for ensuring the provision of learning basic needs adopted in Gometien.

They are:

Reducing illiteracy rates among adults, while emphasizing female literacy in order to achieve remarkable reduction in the existing gap of illiteracy between males and females (item 8-4)
Expansion in basic education and training on the fundamental skills required by the youth and adults. Efficiency of the programmes is tested and estimated in the light of the occurring change in practices and their impact on health and production (item 8-5)

In response, Egypt started the implementation of an educational system, which is represented in establishing one-class schools (1993) and the establishment of community schools (1992).

First: One-Class Schools:

This type of schools was established for girls’ education under the sponsorship of Mrs. Susan Mubarak, in pursuance of the Ministerial decree no. (255) in 1993. It targets realizing the principle of equality in learning for girls, especially in areas of high population density as well as areas deprived of educational services. It also aims at narrowing the gap found in girls’ education than in boys’ education. The plan scheduled targeted the establishment of 3000 schools to be distributed all over the country with emphasis on villagers and dwellers of hamlets and remote areas.

The Following Table illustrates the development in the numbers of female students enrolled in the one-class schools since 1993 till 1999.

Table no. (27)

Development of the no. of female pupils in the one classroom schools from 1993 to 1999

School year

Number of female students

Number of schools

93 / 94

2926

313

98 / 99

44820

2260

This table indicates that the percentage of increase in the numbers of students in the one-class schools for girls has reached %1402.3 and the increase in the number of schools has reached %26.5.
Reasons for establishing this type of schools included the enrollment of girls who have not joined any primary schools although they are in the compulsory age (8-14). It aims at facilitating the provision of the educational service in their dwelling places and in conformity with the various environmental and social conditions, while meeting the basic educational cultural and professional needs of these girls. This will obviously change them into productive manpower and help them lead a better life. It will increase their awareness of the importance of change, and social adaptation, as well as develop their interests of contribution in the productive projects of their environments. They can recognize existing problems and find solutions. Functional education which is totally related to their social role, is being emphasized, besides their awareness of some economic conceptions such as saving and rationalization of expenditures, cleanness of the environment and other important positive practices.
Duration in these schools is 5 years, (like primary schools). The five grades can be reduced to only three grades according to the mentality level of the students. This means that textbooks of the first and second primary are studied in the first grade, textbooks of the third and fourth primary are studied in the second grade, textbooks of the fifth primary are studied in the third grade.
The Ministerial decree no. (255) issued in 1993 permitted the enrollment of girls according to the primary grades they have terminated in previous years, and which they have not completed for certain conditions.
In order to realize punctuality of presence in one-class schools, the school day end is being defined according to the conditions of the students in their hamlets, villages and remote areas. The decree has stipulated that week-ends are during Fridays, the feasts and the village markets.

At the end of their studies in the one-class schools, girls are awarded termination certificates which equal the primary stage.
Education in these schools is typically like that of the primary stage. Vocational education for girls is provided according to the local environment, in addition to the productive projects which increase their income.
This type of school is a terminating school stage for girls except for those who prove their excellence and wish to continue their education. They are allowed to continue in preparatory schools and secondary schools.

These schools have been fortunately provided with enriching programmes, textbooks, educational kits and modules which focus on subjects related to environmental, population and health awareness. Besides, there is the labs kit which contains equipment for a model lab to be used in scientific experiments.

Second: Community Schools:

The Ministry of Education, in participation with the UNICEF, is carrying out the experimental project of "Community Schools". It targets education for all through provision of the basic needs of education for the poor and the categories that are deprived of educational services in the rural areas, and particularly in the helmets and the small villages. Thus it ensures the enrollment of girls in education in the remote areas.
Among the objectives of the project are : achieving education for all- providing a sound basis for an educational program for girls- preparing community schools equivalent to a complete primary educational programme matching with the local requirements- setting up a strong model for distinguished basic education- adopting a whole vision for developing the model of community schools on a wide scale – strengthening the student’s self esteem and appreciation of her country – intensifying her wishes for obtaining knowledge and acquiring practical skills – identifying basic factors that motivate girls’ participation in various life activities – bearing in mind and assuring that education is not isolated from other social, political or economic phenomena, for it is an integrating element that affects and is affected by them.

Basic Strategies:

The strategy of community schools is based on ensuring the enrollment of those who didn’t join schools, on the grounds that:

Extending the service to the community – teachers are female – the positive attitude of the girls to attend these schools – providing awareness programmes on the importance of educating girls and providing educational services for gratis – establishing daily and seasonal educational systems in conformity with the needs of the society – establishing productive developmental projects within these schools.
The project of community schools has started by establishing 19 schools during the school year 1992/1993. The number of these schools amounted to 280 by the end of 1998.
The Ministry of Education is responsible for providing textbooks, incentives for educational personnel. The UNICEF is entitled of providing furniture, training of teachers and participation in the management. The local communities provide the sites for the schools and administration.

Home Classes:

The General Organization of Literacy and Adult Education intends to increase the number of these classes in the country-side in order to educate the girls. These classes are suitable to fit the nature of the rural communities and the characteristics of the farmers. The Organization encourages female university graduates to provide classes in their houses for this purpose. When responsible officials approve these places for education, the Organization provides the necessary equipment as soon as the graduates gather the students who wish to be educated.
This formula (home classes) is the best means for educating the illiterate women in the rural areas, since they do not feel embarrassed as is the case when attending schools or literacy classes.
They only have to go to one of their neighbours for studying. With the provision of qualified university graduates, as teachers, these classes become the most attractive educational centers, which encourage women and girls to continue their studies.

The Egyptian Experience in the Field of

Reading For All

The Festival of Reading for All.

The Society of Integrated Care presided by Mrs. Susan Mubarak started this cultural project in the summer of 1990. The philosophy behind the project is based on a sound belief in the importance of the role of reading in raising up generations. It also focuses on the right of the child for reading, which is recently regarded as a human right as equal as his rights for education, health and food. Reading is very essential for confronting the challenges of the age in which possession of knowledge gives power over the possession of wealth. Hence, the Reading for All Festival is organized annually for three months: June, August and September.
Amongst foreseeable Objectives of the project are: developing enthusiasm for reading and learning - encouraging children and their families to use libraries – utilizing recreational and educational devices – increasing the numbers of public libraries while providing them with all kinds of books – offering library services to all people of different ages – enabling individuals and families to establish special libraries through the production of cheap publications of periodic series and books – encouraging children and youth living in the public areas and villages to read through the provision of mobile libraries – the organization of competitions especially among children.

In order to achieve the objectives of the project, several committees have been organized as follows:

The High Committee for the Reading for All:

It is presided by Mrs. Susan Mubarak. Its members are the Ministers of Education, Information, Culture, Rural Development, the Head of the Executive Board of Youth, chairman of the General Egyptian Book Organization, Head of the Organization of Cultural Palaces and the Head of the State Information Service. The consultant of the Minister of Information is the secretary general of the Committee.
Sub – Committees: include the Committee of the Family Library and the Financial Committee.
The Appeal for the project: Visual, auditory and readable mass media appealed for participation in the project through an organized plan, in order to support this great national project and provide media coverage for its various activities.
Training: Librarians who form the backbone of the work in the libraries are provided with intensive training. It is well known that the success or failure of any library depends on the qualifications of the librarian who should be well aquainted with the library sciences.
The national competition is one of the important activities organized within the project. It aims at discovering the promising creative talented among millions of children and youth in either literary works or drawing.
For the sake of having a library for each family within the reach of every one, prices have been reduced with % 10 of the dominating prices. The project of the Family library was added to the (Reading for All Festival 1994) with the aim of formulating the culture of the child, the youth and the family. Numbers of published books reached 169 titles in 1994. In 1996 they reached 272 titles to meet the great public demand for buying books, (18 million books in 1996).

The Project supporting bodies:

They are the Center of Research and Documentation of Children’s Literature, the Egyptian Division of the EBBY (the International Council of Children’s Books) and the Child’s Museum.
The Egyptian experience is based on a defined philosophy, which is the importance of enhancing the reading habit for all children. This has been developed to include the Egyptian family with all its members and with their different professions. It is based on a strong belief that reading is the correct beginning for forming the humanistic personality. Reading was, and will continue to be the first and most important source of intensive knowledge. The written word will always become the key for human development, the first instrument for education and the optimum way for self-learning. The Reading for All Festival has paved the way for all children, all over Egypt, to be aquainted with readable information and recreational materials.
Since its beginning in 1991, the Festival has become one of the cultural, educational and pedagogical events in Egypt. UNESCO has honoured Mrs. Susan Mubarak for her efforts in this project. She was awarded the golden medal (Avicinne) in appreciation of this outstanding great project, which the Organization has adopted for implementation within its major programme Education For All. This has been realized during the Meeting of the International Committee of the Reading for All, which was held on the 25th November 1997 in Aswan. The Secretary General of UNESCO declared in this meeting the linkage between this project and UNESCO’s programmes, since reading is the best means for practising independent will, free opinion as well as criticizing thinking and building the individual capacity for dialogues and decision making. He also called for the popularization of the Egyptian experience through developing countries.

The Contribution of the Ministry of Education:

School libraries are recognized as the main instruments for implementing the civilized project " Reading for All". This is because of:

The existence of school libraries all over cities and villages.
Providing considerable space within schools for practising various activities.
Providing trained and qualified librarians who are apt to deal with children and youth.
Providing appropriate reading materials for schools.
Providing direct supervision by library supervisors and educational leaders over libraries participating in the Festival.

The Ministry of Education is keen to have all cities and villages participate in this national occasion. More school libraries are annually encouraged to participate in the Festival to meet the increased demand for reading. The designed plan of the General Administration of Libraries in the Ministry of Education includes the organization of several competitions during the Festival. These aim at encouraging spirits of competitiveness and innovation among the personnel of the libraries, while intensifying and developing the reading habits for all students who attend school libraries during the Festival.

Several Competitions are organized by the Administration.

They include:

The cultural competition for students which targets the serious participation in the programmes and activities of the Festival, while making use of the summer vacations for carrying out useful activities. Such activities are scheduled to build innovative capacities and creativity as well as stimulating competitiveness among students. They also aim at raising their awareness of current events and the various aspects of arguing skills for finding information and utilizing them for different purposes.
This competition involves three domains: Free reading, research, article writing and literary work.

The Competition of libraries which excell in providing the activities of the Reading for All Festival:

This competition aims at stressing the pioneer role played by the school libraries in their participation in the activities of the Festival. It aims at developing creative aptitudes and stimulating positive competitiveness among students through different activities.
The following table shows the development in the numbers of participating schools in the Reading for All Festival since 1991 till 1999.

Table no. (28)

Statistics comparing the increase in numbers

of school libraries participating annually

in the Festival 1991/1999

Year

Number of libraries

Increase

percentage

1991

521

-

First year

1992

5450

4929

% 946

1993

6170

720

% 13.2

1994

6992

822

% 13.3

1995

8070

1078

% 15.4

1996

8187

117

% 1.4

1997

9236

1049

% 13.8

1998

9553

317

% 3.4

1999

9671

118

% 1.2

This table indicates that the percentage of increase in the participating libraries has reached 9150 with an increasing percentage amounting to % 1856 since 1991 up till 1999.
Within the activities of the Reading for All Festival (summer 1999), Mrs. Susan Mubarak has adopted the project of establishing 5000 school libraries. Among which are 4000 libraries all over Egyptian villages. The project aims at providing services to the communities surrounding the libraries. It also targets the positive utilization of leisure time in order to build up the personal and social identity of the Egyptian individual. Besides, it encourages self-learning of the adults and youngsters in addition to providing better opportunities for broadening minds and better understanding of problems through direct contact with various information resources.


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