UNESCO Cairo Office is implementing several projects and programmes in support of the education agenda of Egypt.
This support is organized along the below major themes and expected results:
- Sector-wide educational policies and planning, together with Education 2030 Agenda;
- Adult Literacy and Learning;
- Higher Education.
Sector-wide educational policies and planning, together with Education 2030 Agenda
The World Education Forum (May 2015) in Incheon, S. Korea adopted the Incheon Declaration calling for a universal and transformative agenda central to sustainable development:
”Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all”. The UN General Assembly (September 2015) adopted it as Sustainable Development Goal 4 for the international community till 2030.
The High-Level Meeting, as a part of the 38th UNESCO General Conference (November 2015) adopted the Education 2030 Framework For Action with 7 global targets, 3 means of implementation and proposed a set of thematic indicators. These should be now harmonized with, or integrated into the regional and national education plans and strategies, or enhance them with the support of UNESCO, other UN co-convenors and partners. Category-wise, the global focus of the Education 2030 Agenda is on expanded access, inclusion, equity, quality and learning outcomes at all levels within a lifelong approach.
The education systems in the UNESCO Cairo cluster countries (Egypt, Sudan and Libya) have their salient features that require attention to the promotion of quality and inclusive lifelong learning for all, the empowerment of learners to be creative and responsible citizens and building resilience among learners and communities through education.
The 1st Arab Regional Meeting on Education 2030 (Cairo, 15-16 December 2015) outlined a Roadmap for the Operationalization of the Framework for Action in the Arab Region. Countries are now expected to translate the global targets into achievable national targets based on their own education priorities. This requires establishing appropriate intermediate benchmarks per country-selected specific targets to be monitored and evaluated by relevant indicators and projections. The Education 2030 Agenda encompasses all levels and problems, characteristic to the education systems of the Arab countries – now the task is how to carefully prioritize and realistically address them for measurable and achievable results.
The Meeting agreed that the Governments have the primary responsibility to deliver and a central role to play as custodians of efficient and effective planning, management and financing of public education.
Effective partnerships and coordination will be necessary for the follow-up. The usual partners of UNESCO are UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNWomen, UNHCR, ILO and the World Bank. At the regional level, UNESCO counts on collaboration with ALECSO, ABEGS, ISESCO and LAS. UNESCO will support the institutional development and networking of the Regional UNESCO Category II Centres – ASFEC (Sirs El Layyan, Egypt), RCEP (Sharjah), RCEQ (Saudi Arabia) and RCECCE (Syria). More intensive partnership are expected with the Foundations and CSO, active in education.
Strategically, a collective effort of all regional and national stakeholders, policy dialogue, governance, accountability, capacity-development and support in mobilizing adequate financial resources will be required for country-led ownership, engagement and action to implement the Education 2030 Agenda.
The initiative from Egypt to start the preparatory work to launch the Agenda at the national level is an example how to organize coordination of different national stakeholders to work on specific ED 2030 targets. The Education 2030 National Coordinators met to discuss the way forward. Their task is to ensure adequate support for implementing Education 2030 Agenda by advocacy, information-sharing and methodological guidance in the process of contextualization based on national experiences and priorities.
Links to respective HQ and UNESCO-Beirut webpages:
Leadership and Teachers Training in Egypt
Egypt is undergoing important policy reforms in the Education Sector. The GoE efforts are aligned with the international education agenda, namely, SDG 4 "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all" and the Framework For Action 2030 that aims at transforming lives through education, recognizing the important role of education as a main driver of development and in achieving the other proposed SDGs.
In 2014, the UNESCO high level mission on Education undertook a wide consultation with the GoE and formulated the UNESCO education work plan 2014-2015 that prioritized the reform of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system.
UNESCO Cairo Office collaborates with the Education Regional Office in Beirut and the Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning systems in H.Q. to provide policy advise to the national authorities to strengthen and build their capacities in the areas required for teacher training in the framework of improving education relevance by effectively transferring elements of the TVET reform to the institution level through developing and piloting integrated capacity development schemes for managers and teachers in order to empower them to implement change management and layer-down the key directions of the reform.
Promoting Quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Egypt
Following the 1st phase of the project in Egypt, a second phase of the ECCE Project was approved for funding by the AGFUND. The second phase aims at disseminating innovative teaching methodologies in the pre-school stage through continued training of pre-school stage practitioners in Egypt and the Arab region, developing new methodologies for dealing with pre-school children within their families and cooperating with media and publishers to disseminate the vision of pre-school education.
ADULT LITERACY and LEARNING
UNESCO Cairo Office has extensive experience in addressing illiteracy through its long-standing education programme in Egypt. As part of its efforts to combat illiteracy in Egypt, UNESCO Cairo and Beirut Offices jointly launched the National Campaign for Literacy and the Renaissance of Egypt 2011 – 2020 in September 2011 as a flagship initiative. Main partners include the Ministry of Education, Adult Education Authority, and all concerned and active organizations working in literacy and adult education. The National Campaign for Literacy remains an umbrella for all projects, initiatives and activities in literacy and adult education in Egypt, and the Government of Egypt/ Ministry of Education is likely to expand it.
UNESCO-Cairo is collaborating with UNESCO HQ, UNESCO-Beirut and the UIL (Hamburg) in two domains, i.e. the institutional development of the Regional UNESCO Category II Centre on Adult Education and Literacy in the Arab States (Sirs El Layyan, Egypt), and the development of the new methodology and curriculum to combat illiteracy of women and girls in Egypt.
Building upon its current engagement in adult literacy in Egypt, UNESCO-Cairo will provide policy advice and technical assistance to the national authorities and stakeholders in Egypt, together with capacity development and advocacy for literacy of girls and women within three Areas of Intervention. Potential areas of UNESCO’s intervention will include (i) policy advice and technical assistance, (ii) institutional capacity development and back-stopping for piloting and validation of appropriate curricula, designing learning materials, and monitoring the learning outcomes, (iii) advocacy and information-sharing of best practices and innovations, and developing partnerships.
HIGHER EDUCATION in EGYPT
UNESCO is supporting higher education in Egypt in the following domains:
- Quality assurance;
- Improvements in admission systems to universities;
- Use of ICT in higher education;
- Incentives for industry to support higher education.
UNESCO missions were undertaken and several workshops were organized in 2015.