Higher education system in Egypt  

Education in Egypt

Education in Egypt can be divided into two stages: Pre-higher education (School education) and Higher education. Main authorities concerned with education are Ministry of Education (MoE) responsible for school education and Ministry of higher education is resposible for higher education.

School education system.

School education in Egypt is divided into 3 main stages
Kindergarten (2 years) Kindergarten is not required and egyptian student can start his or her education journy from next stage (Basic education) 
Basic Education (9 compulsory years)
Secondary Education (3 or 5 years)

Basic educations consists of Primary school fro 6 years and then Preparatory school for 3 years.

Education system chart

School year is divided into 2 semesters, at end of each semester students are being tested on content they took in the semester. In school period grades are number of points (the total amount of points changes from shool year to the others - typically rangs from 200 to 380). Students are considered passed and able to advance to next school year if he or she was able to get 50% or more of total points.

Afterwards depending on students grades in last year in preparatory school. They can apply to Secondary school. Usually students having higher grades are allowed to apply to "General" Secondary school. Lower grade students can join vocational or higher techncal schools. Vocational and technical schools in Egypt are one of three types: Industrial, Commercial or agricultural. 

Schools in Egypt can be categorized into two main categories
 * Governmental schools
1- Arabic schools: This type of schools is almost free.
2- Expermental language schools: in these schools Science and mathematics are                   tought in English and second forign language is tought starting from Preparatory school (instead of secondary school compared to Arabic schools). Also they teach advanced english subject. This type of schools required higher fees and usually students in this type of schools are one year older than their colleagues in Arabic schools.
*Private schools
1- Ordinary schools: same as Arabic governmental school but managed by private management. This type of schools required fees and usually provide better educations standards and less number of students in one class compared to Arabic governmental schools. Also private school administration can choose to teach advanced English subject
2- Language schools: This schools teach science and mathematics in English
3- Religious schools: are religiously oriented schools as Azhar Islamic schools and Catholic schools
4- International schools: Usually teach another country's curriculum, like British, American, German or French system.

In all cases ministery of education controls almost every thing regarding school education (except international schools which can implement their own system - but still must be approved by Egyptian ministry of education).

Higher education system.

After General secondary school (and top students from vocational and technical schools) go students normally to universities or instituations.

* Universities in Egypt
There are 19 public (state-funded) universities in Egypt. They are 18 universities and Al Azhar university. Egyptians pays only registration fees while non-Egyptians pays full tuition fees which might reach 1500GBP. In addition to public universities there are 20 private universities where students pays tuition fees. Those private universities are not funded by the state but adminstered and funded private organizations. Generally private universities are having less reputation than public universities but still some of them like American university in Cairo (AUC), German University in Cairo (GUC), Nile University and Arab academy for science technology have high reputation. Private universities have to fullfil some  criteria in order that their certification can be authenticated by Minestry of higher education.
In addition to universities there are about 51 public and 109 private non-university institutions in Egypt. Open universities also available for older people.
Now the 1999 chimestry Nobel prize winner Ahmed Zewail has initiated and supports idea of a city of science and technology. The project of Zewail city of sciecne and technology is now under construction and will be named after the idea owner.

For list of Universities in Egypt please click here

* Admission
Applying to Egyptian universities is centeralized. All students have to apply on a central office called Coordication office for admission to uninversities and higher and intermediate instituation (Arabic: مكتب تنسيق الإلتحاق بالجامعات والمعاهد العليا والمتوسطة) by filling an application contain their 48 arranged preferences for faculties or institutions he or she wants to join. Afterwards Coordiation office start assigning student how got higher grade in general secondary stage to the faculty or institution match their first choice as long as the faculty or instutution have still free place - according to number of free places announced yearly- if all free places are already occupied they will try assigning the student in faculty or institution maching his or her 2nd choice and so on untill they find a free place for the student. In case all choices are not applicable they have to call the student to choose another one. Also i have to add that student can not apply to faculty outside his or her geographic location unless there's no such faculty in the geogtaphic location or it has been already filled with students having higher grade than him or her. Applications from Geneal secondary school graduates are more than 400,000 application in year 2011 for academic year 2011/2012 execluding technical secondary school graduates and graduates from international secondary schools. Starting from 2007 Coordination office accepts online applications.

Almost all students who pass general secondary school and top technical secondary school students can be given a place in a public faculty or institution, but not always what student wish to join. Some of them apply to private universities to join the faculty he or she wants to join. As private universities has less constraints and less complicated admission conditions but In all cases it's not always possible to join any faculty. There are still conditions can not be avoided even for private universities.

* Study regulations

a. Ordinary System
Egyptian universities adopts academic year divided into 2 terms (Semesters). Exams are at end of each term. Although system based on academic year, but each term is independent. Some courses are being tought for whole academic years but each term exam concerned only in content tough in that term only. But the state of pass or fail determined by sum of results of both terms.
If student fail on a certain course he or she have to repeat the course - and for whole year courses students should repeat only the term they fail . In case student fail in more than two subjects he or she is not allowed to progress to next year. He or she have to repeat the courses they fail  without being allowed to take any more courses.
In some faculties if student fail twice in the same year he or she will be fired and not allowed to contunie their study in this faculty.

Grade system


Grade in English


ممتاز Excellent/Distinct 85% -
جيد جدا Very good 75% - 84.99%
جيد Good 65% - 74.99%
مقبول Acceptable/Pass 50% - 64.99%
ضعيف Weak (Fail) 30% - 49.99%
 ضعيف جدا Very weak (Fail) 0% - 29.99%

Students are not allowed to take grade more than maximum percentage of "Pass" in case they passed the course by repeatation.

b. Credit hours system
Credit hours system started to be implemented in some faculties as a way to comply with world standards. It's similar to American grading system. Students of this track are paying higher fees compared to ordinary track students.
New programs are offered by this track which is not available to oridanary track. at the same time programs of ordinary track are not offered by credit hours track.

Grade system

Ordinary grade





(Excellent/ Distinct)



97% -



93% - 96.99%



89% - 92.99%

جيد جدا

(Very good)



84% - 88.99%



80% - 83.99%



76% - 79.99%





73% - 75.99%



70% - 72.99%



67% - 69.99%

(Acceptable/ Pass)



64% - 66.99%



60% - 63.99%

راسب (Fail)



Less than 60%

Approximate academic year calender
Academic year in Egypt starts at second or third week of September.
The first term lasts for 15 weeks ends at Mid-January.
Then comes the mid-year vacation for about a month.
Sencond term starts usually at mid February and lasts also 15 weeks and ends at mid June .
It's now the summer vacation for 3 months.

Academic stuff and teaching assistants
In public universities academic stuff are part of the state stuff. So all professors, teaching assistans and adminstration stuff are considered a government employee. Teaching assistants usually hired from new graduates based on their accumlative total grade in the university according to number of free places. for example if certain department decided to hire 3 new TAs, so that mean that the first 3 student in class grade ranking will be given offer to work as a TA and the 4th student can only get the job if one of those threee student decided to not work as a TA. Usually TAs and stuff are not allowed to have any work  outside the university but  this restriction  is ignored in most cases.

For private universities hiring teaching assistants is like any company. Interested persons apply on  vacancies and then applicant is invited for an interview. Based on interview result, CV, certifiactes and other aspects the decision to hire him or her is taken.

Ahmed Elsherbiny Hasan