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The Egypt K-12 Education System

The Ministry of Education administers the preschool, primary and secondary education in Egypt.  The Egyptian education system follows a 6+3+3 structure, with 6 years of primary school, 3 years of secondary school and 3 years of senior secondary school. 

Pupils are after completion of 9 years of mandatory schooling is awarded a Basic Education Certificate. Students who complete 12 years of schooling are awarded a General Secondary Education Certificate or Technical Secondary Education Diploma, and for pupils who follow a 5-year program of technical secondary education are awarded a Technical Secondary Education Diploma after the completion of the programme.

Compulsory Education

Education in Egypt is compulsory from the age 6 to 14.  Compulsory education in Egypt lasts for 9 academic years, from Grade 1 to Grade 9.

School System

Schools in Egypt are of two types:
  • Government Schools
  • Private Schools
The Ministry of education administers the school education in Egypt.

Government Schools

In Egypt, there are two types of government schools:

Arabic language: At such schools the language of instruction is Arabic and they are almost free of charge.

Experimental language school:  These schools use English, and a second foreign language- French or German in preparatory education. These schools charge fees 

Private Schools

There are 4 types of private schools:

Ordinary School: The ordinary schools are similar to the Arabic governmental schools, but these are managed and supervise by private authorities. Their curriculum is on the same lines as that of government schools in Egypt. These schools charge fees.

Language Schools: These schools teach most of the curriculum in English and also use a second foreign language- French or German. 

Religious schools: These schools are religiously oriented school as Azhar Islamic schools or Catholic schools.

International’s schools: These schools provide curriculum of different countries like that of British, German, or French System and the degrees offered by them are certified from Ministry of Education.

Snapshot of K-12 Education

The public education in Egypt comprises of 3 stages:
Stage 1: Basic level: This level is for 4-14 years old and is divided into following parts:
  • Kindergarten
  • Primary school
  • Preparatory or lower secondary schools
Stage 2: Secondary education
This level of education is of 3 years for children aged 15-17.

Stage 3: Post-secondary education

Stage 1: Basic Level Education

The basic education comprises of Kindergarten, primary and lower-secondary education. 

Kindergartens

Kindergartens consist of activities that nurture ethical values and social cooperation in children. It work towards the physical, emotional and social development of the children. 
  • Ages: 4-6
  • Duration: 2 years

Primary Education

The Ministry of Education determines the curriculum of the primary schools in Egypt. The first 2 years of primary education focus on reading and writing, while the later years of primary school focus on science and mathematics. 

Duration: 6 years

Ages: 6-12 

Curriculum: Mathematics, Science, English, Religious studies, Arabic, and music. In Grade 4, agriculture is also taught and in Grade 5 social studies, art, and home economics are introduced. 
At Al-Azhar schools, the curriculum is usually the same with a main focus on Islamic studies. There are many international schools in Egypt that follow American, Canadian or British curriculum.

Lower-Secondary Education

This level of education forms the final level of compulsory education in Egypt. It is also known as preparatory stage. 

Duration: 3 years

Ages: 12-15

Curriculum: Agriculture, english, arabic, arts, music, social studies, mathematics, religious studies, and industrial education. Some of the schools also provide European languages, usually Spanish or French. 


Credential Awarded at the end of Basic Education: Students who complete the basic compulsory education stage are awarded “Basic Education Certificate”. Pupils with a Basic Education Certificate or Al-Azhar Basic Education Certificate are eligible for admittance into general upper secondary school, technical and vocational secondary school or Al-Azhar secondary school.

Stage 2: Secondary Education

Secondary education comprises of 3 tracks:
  • General secondary education schools
  • Vocational or technical
  • Al-Azhar secondary education schools
The secondary education in Egypt is not compulsory. 
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 15-18

General Secondary Education Schools

These schools provide academic programmes thus preparing students for higher education. 
Duration: 3 years

Curriculum: At this level, there are 2 streams from which students can select- Literacy or Scientific. Both the streams include Arabic and English as mandatory subjects, along with the following streamed subjects:
  • Science: Physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry
  • Literary: History, home economics, arts, and geography
Elective subjects: Social studies, music, environmental sciences, European languages, philosophy, national studies and psychology.  The elective subjects are selected based on the pupil’s intended higher education level specialization.

The Al-Azhar curriculum includes similar subject areas, but with main emphasis on Islamic studies.
At the end of the general secondary education, students are required to pass the final exam. 

Credential Awarded: General Secondary Education Certificate (Thanawiyya al-A’aamaI) or  Al-Azhar General Secondary Education Certificate (Graduates of Al-Azhar system).

Technical and Vocational Secondary Education

Vocational and technical prepares for work life and lasts for 3-5 years. To gain admittance into the technical and vocational secondary education, students must hold a Basic Education Certificate. The curriculum includes general secondary education subjects, along with Arabic and English language. The major time is spent is studying the specialization area.  

The technical education offer programmes that lasts for 3-5 years and includes schools in 3 different areas- agricultural, industrial, and commercial.  The vocational track focuses more on trade-oriented education and skills. 
At technical secondary schools, pupils can take up one of two qualifications: 

Technical Secondary Education Diploma: The Technical Secondary Education Diploma takes 3 years of study after the Basic Education Certificate, with pupils specializing in one of 3 streams: 
  • Technical
  • Industrial 
  • Agricultural
Advanced Technical Certificate: The Advanced Technical Diploma takes 5 years of study after the Basic Education Certificate and provides more specialized study than the Technical Secondary Certificate.
Students who complete the technical secondary education diploma are eligible for further education at a technical institute. Students who complete the Advance technical diploma are eligible to apply to universities or higher institutions in a field related to their specialization.

Al-Azhar System

Another system that runs in parallel with the public education system in Egypt is known as the Al-Azhar system. The Al-Azhar system comprises of three stages:
  • Primary stage that is of 6 years 
  • Preparatory stage of 3 years 
  • Secondary stage of 3 years
The Al Azhar education system is administered by the Supreme Council of the Al-Azhar Institution. Al Azhar schools are named "Institutes" and include primary, preparatory, and secondary stages. The religious as well as non-religious subjects are taught at all schools in all stages. 

Private Sector Education

At all education levels are found the private schools. The private sector is administered by the Ministry of Education and this sector teach state approve curriculum. Mainly there are three types of private schools:

Ordinary schools: These schools are similar to the government schools in terms of the curriculum, and focus more on the needs of the students.

Language schools: These schools teach the major portion of the curriculum in English and include German and French as a second foreign language. Such schools fee is generally high.

Religious schools: These schools are religiously-oriented and their curriculum is different from the state or Al-Azhar schools curriculum. 
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