Since 2000, Egypt has seen a gradual but fluctuating drop in the number of primary school aged children who are out of school. There has also been a dramatic decrease in exclusion rates for lower secondary aged children. Out-of-school rates have declined among pre-primary aged children but are still high.
There are now 319,126 primary school aged children out of school (2.9%), 331,074 lower secondary aged children (6.6%) and 1,297,354 pre-primary school age children (69.2%).
Dropout rates in lower secondary remain a concern at 3%. Poor girls from rural environments and poor boys in urban areas are the most likely to drop out.
At particular risk of being excluded from school are: poor children and girls.
BARRIERS AND BOTTLENECKS
Limited places are available for pre-primary students.
Poverty and child labour keep many children out of school, as do parental attitudes that see no value in education compared to work.
Poor social protection programmes and the increasing cost of education also exclude poorer children, particularly the cost of private tutoring.
The quality of education has declined as access has increased. Although there are now more schools, they lack facilities, well trained teachers and are overcrowded, contributing to low demand among both parents and students.
Students are also exposed to violence.
POLICIES AND STRATEGIES
The government has engaged with NGOs to offer psychosocial support to children with low academic performance.
The government partners with NGOs to establish community schools in rural areas.
To address the effects of poverty, tuition fees have been repealed for both public and Azhari schools and school feeding is being offered in primary schools.
Social protection support has also been given to households covering 16,000 children to address the root causes of child labour.
- Implement educational and child labour laws.
- Offer free lessons as a short-term solution to the need for private tuition.
- Encourage children in target areas to enroll and continue in school.
- Develop interventions at the appropriate level based on a thorough analysis of solid data.
- Ensure schools offer a child friendly curriculum and varied school activities.
- Provide alternative education courses so that those who want to continue on from basic education can obtain a degree linked to the labour market.
- Link databases of enrolled students at the Ministry of Education and Azhari Education as well as civil registry databases to identify out-of-school children.
- Cooperate with community institutions and target communities to reach out-of-school children and get them into class.
- Build capacity among school trustees so they can pursue cases of children at risk of dropping out.
- Monitor and evaluate programmes to ensure transparency and accountability with clear and measurable indicators and targets.