In an effort to support the country’s economic growth plan, Egypt is continuing efforts to expand its skilled workforce, matching educational and training opportunities with the needs of employers through its technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes for advancement.
An Ongoing Challenge
TVET programmes have been a fixture in Egypt with varying success. During the 2015/16 school year, more than half of all secondary school students were on a vocational training track, with 1.7m students spread across 200 vocational schools. Around half of the students were learning skills to become mechanics, plumbers and electricians, 35% were studying for office jobs, with the remainder focused on agriculture or hospitality. Yet as of 2016, Egypt’s unemployment rate was 12.01%, up from 8.98% in 2008, and well above the 2016 global average of 5.73%. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 “Africa Competitiveness Report,” over two-fifths of young women in Egypt are neither employed nor in education or training. Many of those who are employed are engaged in the informal sector; in 2016 US-based think tank the Brookings Institution reported that among wageworkers who have at least a secondary education, only 42% have access to a formal work contract.
Room For Improvement
The Ministry of Education’s (MoE) Technical Education Strategy (2011/12 to 2016/17) notes the need to establish a technical education system that links students to the country’s economic and social development. As a result, the MoE provides most TVET programmes, administering 1600 technical secondary schools with more than 2.2m students enrolled across three- or five-year programmes, according to the European Commission (EC). As of 2017, the US International Trade Administration estimated that the vocational training centres affiliated with various ministries have a total training capacity of over 250,000 students per year. However, the government’s involvement has historically been fragmented and involves more than 20 ministries and institutions; the EC cites “inappropriate mechanisms for an effective and efficient governance and financing of the TVET system” as one of the key barriers to a successful programme.
Established & New Partners
The private sector has responded to government efforts with a continuous presence in vocational training. German companies like Mercedes-Benz and Siemens have long been leaders in Egypt’s vocational training, with the latter announcing a joint effort with the German Society for International Cooperation in the establishment of a 2000-sq-metre training centre next to the power plants of Ain Sokhna to train more than 5500 technicians from 2018-22 (see Energy chapter). Additionally, in June 2017 the German and Egyptian governments signed an agreement to support the financing of a solar-energy-focused TVET programme worth €50m. New entrants have recently emerged, including South Korea’s Korea International Cooperation Agency, who provided a $6m grant to establish an advanced technical education facility in Beni Suef, or the upgrade of four vocational training centres in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as support for the automotive training system. At the Suez Canal Economic Zone, the Chinese government provided $7m to establish a vocational training centre, while the Singaporean Technical Training Institute and the Singaporean Business Federation signed memoranda of understanding with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce to establish technical training centres. Although room for improvement remains when it comes to consolidating training efforts at the government level, the focus on matching Egyptians with specific technical skills together with existing or future projects is a trend that could match muchneeded skilled labour with better opportunities.
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