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Ministry of International Cooperation 2020 Annual Report | Education, Empowerment, Economic Growth

Investments in education provide a catalyst for economic growth, job creation, and increased social mobility. With more than 21 million students, Egypt is home to the largest school system in the Middle East and has achieved near-universal access to primary education as well as gender parity in both enrollment and completion rates.

In 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation, led by H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, secured financing agreements with a total of $252 million from multilateral and bilateral partners in Education, from the USAID, Saudi Fund, South Korea, Italy and Germany. Back in 2018, Egypt set on to establish a modernized education system and in 2019, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared the year to be ‘the Year of Education’ and this led to the presence of technology in the classroom leading to a dramatic cultural shift in the way society views education. Many of these reforms were set to continue in 2020. According to the 2020 annual report of the Ministry of International Cooperation titled “International Partnerships for Sustainable Development”, the ministry secured 4 grants from the United States of America; $15 million for the Basic Education Development Program in the second phase; $26.5 million for a project to stimulate trade and investment in Egypt; $30 million for the Egyptian-American Higher Education Initiative, and $4 million for the Egyptian-American cooperation in science and technology. A $2.5 million Italian grant was also provided for a project to expand applied technology in schools and enhance the skills of teachers, and a $2.9 million grant came from Korea to develop a system for automating intellectual property systems. Germany also provided 4 grants; the first amounting to $13.8 million for a project to rehabilitate vocational schools, $5.4 million for a project to support the dual education system in Egypt, and $4.4 million and $6.6 million for a project to encourage employment. The Saudi Fund For Development provided $140.8 million to complete the King Salman International University. H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat stressed that the funds are allocated in line with the placing of ‘People at the Core, Projects in Action, and Purpose as the Driver’, the ministry’s Global Partnerships Narrative. Egypt is currently operating under a new “Education 2.0” system with a focus on digitising education by providing servers, screens and tablets to 25,000 public schools, changing the assessment model for high school and other levels of education in the future, and uploading the curricula from kindergarten through to Grade 12 to a digital library online that is freely accessible. This reform is supported by the partnership between the Ministry of International Cooperation and the World Bank, and is helping improve education services to 12.2 million primary school students, 8.9 million in junior high and 2.8 million at the secondary level. The project, worth $500 million supports increasing access to quality kindergarten education, improving the quality of learning and adopting technology as a vehicle to achieve reform objectives. Education is at the heart of sustainable development. The output that the education system produces and its youth are what is necessary for economic growth. There are 36 projects on SDG 4: Quality Education amounting to $2.361 billion, 9.2% of the total ODA. Many of the education projects also support other SDGs, such as SDG 5: Gender Equality. The availability of education needs to encompass the demands of the future and this includes access to basic education, vocational training, primary and secondary education, and higher education. All of which, Egypt has been working to develop in 2020. Due to COVID-19, schools and universities adapted to months of online learning, which proved and emphasized the importance of technology in education. One of the latest developments in the education sector was also the addition of Chinese language classes. In September 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education and Technical Education and Confucius Institute in China was signed agreeing to teach Chinese in preparatory and secondary schools as an optional foreign language. This deal lasts for six years and can be perpetually renewed. Multilingualism is a positive factor in any economy as it ensures that our next generation of students will have the knowledge and skills they need to increase their opportunities and expand their horizons. The goal in Egypt is to educate a youth that is ready to become the drivers of the country’s development. A digital future requires a tech-savvy generation. According to the annual report by the Ministry of International Cooperation in 2020, the ministry secured development financing agreements worth $9.8 billion during the year; $6.7 billion for financing sovereign projects, and $3.1 billion in support of the private sector.