Secondary education

Secondary school in Egypt

For the last three years of compulsory education, state schools separate children into both an academic track geared toward preparation for university and a vocational/technical track.

Secondary education

At the end of their primary schooling, children take a standardized exam that determines whether they are eligible for the academic secondary track. Good test scores and a solid academic record are prerequisites for entry. Depending on which track a student completes, he will be awarded either a Basic Education Completion Certificate or a Certificate in Basic Vocational Education.

In spite of the stratification, the Ministry of Education’s primary goal at the secondary education level is to prevent illiteracy. In spite of its efforts, less than half of all primary school students go on to complete secondary school.

The general (academic) track: Students in the academic track essentially spend three years preparing to enter university. They are tested rigorously (every month for the first two years) and must also pass a final exam in order to earn their certificates.

The vocational track: Students in the vocational track study more trade-oriented skills. More than twice the number of students enter the vocational track than the general track.

Regardless of which track students take, they have access to teacher-sponsored extracurricular activities. Athletically, soccer (football) is a popular choice, but there are additional cultural and academic options as well, depending on the school.

Islamic secondary school

Students enrolled in Islamic schools study the same curriculum as their secondary counterparts, with the addition of Islamic studies and in-depth study of the Quran. There are separate Islamic schools for boys and girls, and all students who complete Islamic secondary school are automatically eligible to attend Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Islamic schools account for less than a tenth of all Egyptian students.

Special education

The Egyptian government provides opportunities for special education at all levels and for all needs (from blindness to mental handicaps and even gifted students). While schools for special needs children continue to develop, their quality varies wildly with the teaching staff and is difficult to assess on paper. One salient point of the Egyptian education system is that it emphasizes English-language special needs education, though a foreigner would certainly be better-served placing his or her special needs child in an international special-needs environment.

At the end of their primary schooling, children take a standardized exam that determines whether they are eligible for the academic secondary track. Good test scores and a solid academic record are prerequisites for entry. Depending on which track a student completes, he will be awarded either a Basic Education Completion Certificate or a Certificate in Basic Vocational Education.

In spite of the stratification, the Ministry of Education’s primary goal at the secondary education level is to prevent illiteracy. In spite of its efforts, less than half of all primary school students go on to complete secondary school.

The general (academic) track: Students in the academic track essentially spend three years preparing to enter university. They are tested rigorously (every month for the first two years) and must also pass a final exam in order to earn their certificates.

The vocational track: Students in the vocational track study more trade-oriented skills. More than twice the number of students enter the vocational track than the general track.

Regardless of which track students take, they have access to teacher-sponsored extracurricular activities. Athletically, soccer (football) is a popular choice, but there are additional cultural and academic options as well, depending on the school.

Islamic secondary school

Students enrolled in Islamic schools study the same curriculum as their secondary counterparts, with the addition of Islamic studies and in-depth study of the Quran. There are separate Islamic schools for boys and girls, and all students who complete Islamic secondary school are automatically eligible to attend Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Islamic schools account for less than a tenth of all Egyptian students.

Special education

The Egyptian government provides opportunities for special education at all levels and for all needs (from blindness to mental handicaps and even gifted students). While schools for special needs children continue to develop, their quality varies wildly with the teaching staff and is difficult to assess on paper. One salient point of the Egyptian education system is that it emphasizes English-language special needs education, though a foreigner would certainly be better-served placing his or her special needs child in an international special-needs environment.

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