Egypt: Students increase despite a tutor shortage

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The number of students at the pre-university level in the 2020/2021 school year increased by about one million male and female students, compared to the academic year 2019/2020, while the number of teachers decreased in the same period by about 10,000 teachers, according to the latest data published by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics. These numbers reinforce what was previously confirmed by education experts that the number of students is increasing in exchange for a decrease in the number of teachers, due to the government’s reluctance to appoint new teachers since 2014 (President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s rise to power), which is exacerbating the education crisis in the country.

26.3 million students

The number of students in pre-university education, general and Azhar, in the academic year 2020/2021, reached 26.3 million students, compared to 25.3 million students in the 2019/2020 academic year, an increase of 3.8 per cent. The number of students in the pre-primary stage (kindergarten) recorded 1.4 million students, while primary education accounted for the largest proportion of students, as it included 14.4 million students, while the number of students in the preparatory stage reached 5.9 million. The number of students at the secondary level reached 2.3 million, while the number in technical education reached 2.1 million.

The community education schools (schools of a special nature that provide educational services in remote areas deprived of education and target children who have dropped out of education) include 136,300 students, representing 0.5 per cent of the total students in the pre-university education stages.

Special education schools (designated for people with special needs) have 43,700 students, while 8,500 students study in reading institutes (specialised Azharite institutes). The dropout rates from education witnessed a reasonable improvement, as the primary school dropout rate for the 2019/2020 academic year (the latest monitored figures) reached 0.2 per cent, compared to 0.3 per cent in 2018/2019, while the preparatory school dropout rate was 1.7 per cent in 2019/2020 compared to 2.7 per cent in 2018/2019.

1.17 million teachers

The number of teachers in pre-university education, general and Azhar, during the academic year 2020/2021 reached 1,170, compared to 1,180 thousand teachers during the year 2019/2020, a decrease of 1.2 per cent.

The number of teachers working in pre-primary schools was 63,800, while the largest number was of course working in primary schools, where the number reached 514,500 teachers, while about 295,000 teachers worked in preparatory education, and 142,000 teachers in secondary education. In technical education schools there were 141,000 teachers. There are 8,000 teachers working in community education schools, and the number in special education schools reaches about 10,000 and decreases in reading institutes where there are only 1,000 teachers.

68,900 schools and institutes

The number of Al-Azhar schools and institutes in the stages of pre-university education, during the academic year 2020/2021, reached 68,900 schools and institutes, compared to 67,500 schools during the year 2019/2020, an increase of two per cent.

The number of Al-Azhar schools and institutes in the pre-primary stage reached 14,200 thousand schools and institutes, and this number in the primary education stage reached 22,900 schools and institutes, while the number in the preparatory stage reached 16,500 schools and institutes, and the number in the secondary stage decreased to 6,400 schools and institutes.

The number of technical education schools reached 2,700, while the number of community education schools reached 4,900 schools, and the number in special education schools decreased to 1,100 schools, while the number of reading institutes is 118.

Notes on the margins

The latest statistics are in line with the past years in terms of a decrease in the number of teachers and an increase in the number of students each year compared to the previous one. The impact of this change was clear at the beginning of the current school year, when a noticeable overcrowding in classes was observed, which led to severe tensions between parents and school administrations.

The number of teachers Egypt is short of, according to official government figures, is 250,000. The Minister of Education, Dr. Tariq Shawky, has repeatedly repudiated his responsibility to solve the crisis, stressing that this is a crisis of the state, and that President Sisi has ordered since 2014 that new appointments be stopped, indicating that whoever wants to direct criticism should direct it at Sisi directly.

In this context, reference is also made to the crisis of technical education, which is largely neglected by the state. While there are 6,400 schools and institutes serving 2.3 million students at the secondary level, there are only 2,700 schools serving 2.1 million students in technical education, which reflects a severe neglect by the state.