Higher Education Reform in Egypt: Putting Students at the Centre

Adam Cygan authored this blog for GPG. He is a professor of Constitutional law and a GPG Associate. He explains the work of GPG with the Education Committee in Egypt and the EduGate Fair which took place in 2019.  

Between 26-28 February 2019, the ‘EduGate’ Higher Education Fair in Cairo brought together Egyptian and international universities, parliamentarians, academics and students.  This gathering provided an opportunity to explore the process of Higher Education reform in Egypt and the work of the Parliamentary Education Committee, supported by GPG and Associates from the UK. Over the last 12 months, the work of the Education Committee has been gathering pace with regular events themed around key issues and challenges for Higher Education reform in Egypt.

Education reform is a key pillar of social reform in Egypt and the government’s Egypt 2030 strategy has the vision of creating ‘A high-quality education and training system available to all, without discrimination within an efficient, just, sustainable and flexible institutional framework’. This process of modernisation and reform of higher education is necessary ‘in order to provide the skills to students and trainees to think creatively, and empower them technically and technologically’.

GPG was one of the EduGate 2019 Partners and the agenda for the first day included presentations by GPG Associates on best practice in University governance procedures and quality assurance mechanisms. GPG has supported the work of the Education Committee by facilitating a series of seminars and events which have brought together Egyptian parliamentarians, academics, a diverse range of stakeholders and GPG Associates. These have provided open forums for the exchange and deliberation of policy ideas with the primary purpose of supporting Egyptian-led initiatives on Higher Education reform.

EduGate 2019 provided an opportunity to showcase the progress that has been made through this process of open and inclusive dialogue. Participants explored how Egyptian universities can develop quality assurance and governance processes to enable them to compete in the international knowledge exchange economy where universities across the world are taking a lead.  By focussing on strategies for improvement and sharing initiatives for best practice with global Higher Education institutions, Egyptian Higher Education reform has placed increased internationalisation at the centre of its objectives.

The discussions which took place at EduGate 2019 Fair confirmed that Higher Education reform continues to be a priority for the Egyptian government and Parliament and that collaboration and consensus between Parliament and the government is essential to meet the Egypt 2030 goals. The focus on improving standards across all aspects of Egyptian Higher Education and an openness to engage with international universities, as the EduGate 2019 Fair illustrates, are all positive steps.

Perhaps the biggest success of the work of Higher Education reform in Egypt is that it has placed students at the centre of this process. Improving the prospects for the next generation of students and opening up access to Higher Education is central to achieving broader socio-economic reform in Egypt. For this reason, GPG is proud to have been associated with the work on the Higher Education reforms which intends to deliver life-changing opportunities for Egyptian citizens in the coming years.

Professor Adam Cygan is a GPG Associate working on the Egypt Higher Education Project