Higher education is both religious and secular. The Islamic influence is represented by Al-Azhar University, founded in 970 under the aegis of the Al-Azhar Mosque.
Egypt is one of the world’s original great civilizations. Because its geography is primarily desert, its legendary river, the Nile, plays an important a role today, just as it did in ancient times. Indeed, almost all of the country's cities and agriculture are along its banks. Agriculture is the prime engine of the economy, which has been buffered by tourism and money from Egyptians working abroad. While Egypt is best known for its archaeological sites, it continues to play a vital role in the political and economic life of the Middle East. Having made peace with Israel--with which it fought wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973--it has served as a broker in peace talks. Its president, Hosni Mubarak, has been in power since 1981. Although the Constitution has been amended to allow opposition in presidential elections, religious parties are banned, and many forms of political expression are restricted.
Throughout Egypt, days are commonly warm or hot, and nights are cool. Egypt has only two seasons: a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. The only differences between the seasons are variations in daytime temperatures and changes in prevailing winds. In the coastal regions, temperatures range between an average minimum of 14° C in winter and an average maximum of 30° C in summer.
Temperatures vary widely in the inland desert areas, especially in summer, when they may range from 7° C at night to 43° C during the day. During winter, temperatures in the desert fluctuate less dramatically, but they can be as low as 0° C at night and as high as 18° C during the day.
The most humid area is along the Mediterranean coast, where the average annual rainfall is about 200mm (8 inches). Precipitation decreases rapidly to the south; Cairo receives on average only about 29mm (1.5 inches) of rain each year, and in many desert locations it may rain only once in several years.
Overview of Higher Education
Higher education in Egypt is both religious and secular. The Islamic influence is represented by Al-Azhar University, which was founded in 970 under the aegis of the Al-Azhar Mosque; postsecondary religious education requires at least one year of Arabic and Koranic studies.
The American University of Cairo, founded in 1919, is independent, and teaches in English.
Bachelor’s degrees usually are awarded after four years of study but can take longer. A diploma is awarded after an additional year of study, and a master’s degree after two years. Doctorates generally require three to four years of research.
Instruction is in Arabic except for many courses in science, medicine, and engineering, which are in English. Higher education is ostensibly free, but students do pay fees.
In 2005 an estimated 2.5 million students were pursuing higher education in Egypt.
(Sources: BBC, The Europa World of Learning)
Number of Colleges, Universities, Technical Institutes
Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (total): 42
Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (private/non-state): 16
Number of Higher Education Students
Number of students enrolled: 2,594,000
Number of international students enrolled: 26,940
Ministry of Higher Education
101 Kasr El Aini St., 7th Floor Cairo Egypt
Web site: http://www.egy-mhe.gov.eg/
Phone: +20 7952155
Contact: Hani Hilal, Minister of Higher Education