Egypt’s education sector is both varied and highly influential within the country, the Middle East, and North Africa as a whole. Using a model which balances private and public schooling, Egypt has successfully created and served the largest work force within the Middle East, one which is ripe with investment opportunities. The government has invested more than EGP 4.5 billion in a pre-university education plan, and there are currently 270 schools and 24 private universities which are accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education. Additionally, the Egyptian government treats educational establishments similar to not for profit institutions, meaning that they are effectively exempt from paying tax.
As a result of these changes, the illiteracy rate in the last two years has also dropped from 85.7% to 29.8 % and is continuing to decline. Additionally, more and more investors are filling the gap in the market for education and training programs which offer international teaching locally.
The current target is that by 2030 all youth, and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, are competent in both literacy and numeracy. That being said, opportunities for investment can be found both within the higher education market and within workplace training schemes. Currently, there is particular demand for training courses (which range from driver education to high-end corporate seminars) due to the increasing requirements from employers. Barely a decade old, the corporate training sector is already packed with potential. Other collaborative efforts between the government and the private sector have led to widespread access to technology by installing computer labs in 2000 schools, while connecting over 1120 schools to the internet, and creating around 1954 community level IT clubs. It is clear that as Egypt grows, demand for schools providing cutting-edge, high-quality education and training will continue to grow, and this in return will provide investment opportunities unrivalled within the region.
Areas for Investment
1 | K-12 Schools
In Egypt there is a growing demand for international schools because, unlike domestic private schools, they are geared towards preparing students to continue their education outside Egypt. Setting up a private international school within Egypt is a very profitable business, and has proven to be successful on a number of occasions. Start-up costs need not be extortionate since the fundamental elements, such as construction materials and a labour force are easily attainable and inexpensive. Additionally, there is also huge potential for investing in technology and more modernized equipment for k-12 schools.
2 | Universities and Post-Graduate Training Programs
Higher education is provided by universities and non-university higher education institutes, and is accessible to all students holding the general secondary education certificate, a technical diploma with high scores, or a diploma of advanced technical studies. Partnerships with international universities have been successful in the past since there is a growing demand for exposure to the various international education systems. The country already boasts British, American, Canadian and German Universities that offer high quality education and opportunities for travel.
3 | Vocational and Technical Training
3 | Vocational and Technical TrainingThere are synergies across a wide variety of sectors which the government has identified as requiring modernization and revamping, one of which is vocational training. There is therefore demand in the country for centers and schemes which provide practical training that prepare people for the working world. Start-up costs of institutions which provide such training programmes can be considerably less than investing within a school or other formal education entities which need to abide by specific bureaucratic standards.
1 | A Large and Growing Domestic Student Base
Almost 50% of Egypt’s 105 million citizens are under the age of 25 which means there is an ever growing market for higher education. Furthermore, many multinational companies are expanding their operations in Egypt, and more Egyptian companies are becoming regionally and even globally competitive. The need has therefore never been greater demand for highly skilled employees.
2 | Availability of Local Employment
Egypt produces a skilled and multilingual workforce of more than 3 million university graduates each year. The diverse nature of the Egyptian workforce and economy guarantees both a large pool of people who can teach and conduct training programs.
3 | Low Start-Up Costs
Egypt offers labour, raw materials, energy and a global quality telecom network at highly competitive prices — all important components of building and running a successful technical institute. Low start-up costs and daily overhead also improve profitability in the long run.
4 | Demand for Corporate Training Programs
The demand for such training programs far exceeds their supply within Egypt, which forces many corporations to turn to costly short-term solutions from European companies who have expertise in a particular area of business. This therefore provides an array of opportunities for trainers and teachers to fill this gap in the market.
5 | Strong Public Support
Aside from the obvious economic benefits, the public is also pushing for projects which focus on good quality education in the country as it increases chances of employability and improves existing labour forces for a number of reasons.
Opening an International School
Opening an international school in Egypt is relatively straight forward, and licensing can be attained in 2-3 months. Below are the steps for application:
– An application form must be completed and sent to the Ministry of Education along with the name of your company and address.
– The form must specify which curriculum the school wishes to use so that the relevant license can be issued for this curriculum.
– Level of education of the school must also be specified (primary, secondary etc…).
– A cheque must be issued to the Ministry in the name of “supporting education” for the amount of 250, 000 EGP.
– The school’s curriculum must include Arabic.
– School fees must be collected in Egyptian Pounds.
– The school must raise the Egyptian flag and not the flag of any other country.
Generally speaking, the government seldom rejects applications to initiate international schools due to the many benefits which they bring to the country. Rejections tend only to be made if it is found that the applicant has a criminal record.