Meeting Summary

Project: Middle East and North Africa Programme

Chatham House

This is a summary of discussions that took place at a roundtable held at Chatham House on 19 January 2012. 
Some of the main findings include:

  • Making Egypt's education system more effective and more equitable will be of critical importance to the success of Egypt’s transition in the long term. The system needs a thorough overhaul to make it fit for purpose. 
  • In the short term, there is an urgent need to fill the gap between the supply of and demand for skilled labour, and to develop 'soft skills' for employability, such as communication and presentation skills, problem-solving and teamwork. Private-sector companies can help to address this gap.  
  • In the longer term, a thorough overhaul of the public-school system is needed. These reforms need to focus not only on the elite schools and universities from which top businesses currently recruit, but also on the vast number of technical schools where most Egyptians study. 
  • Most of the problems are well known; the issue is fundamentally one of political will. Improving education is of great importance to the public, but overhauling the large bureaucracy is a difficult task. Senior business people can and should press Egypt’s newly elected parliamentarians and forthcoming new government to tackle the challenges of the education system with urgency.
The Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Programme convened the roundtable in partnership with the British Council Egypt and supporting partners the Egyptian Business Council. 
Event details.

Project on Egypt >>

Also read:

Education in Egypt: Key Challenges
Background Paper
Louisa Loveluck, March 2012