Ministry launches higher education and research strategy

Egypt has launched a higher education and scientific research strategy for 2016 to 2030 that aims to promote science, technology and innovation within higher education institutions and research centres, and to produce industry and market-ready graduates.

In an 8 November speech, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ashraf El Shihy was quoted by the ministry's website as saying: "Our role is to afford training to higher education students and provide them with the skills to think, debate and create, which leads to students who can develop their abilities after graduation to have competitive advantage in the labour market."

He was speaking at an inaugural workshop on the development of medium-term planning mechanisms to implement the 2030 higher education and research strategy.

Samir Khalaf Abd-El-Aal, a professor of genetics and molecular biology at the National Research Centre in Cairo, cautiously welcomed the strategy.

"This is the first higher education strategy with definite performance targets and specific programmes, but it is without a budget allocation to ensure its implementation," Abd-El-Aal told University World News.

The higher education and scientific research strategy, which is part of the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030, focuses on achieving unified targets and goals as measured by key performance indicators for higher education and training until 2030, which include the following:

Strategic results
  • • Egypt should rise from the current rank of 148 in the Global Competitiveness Index for higher education and training to 75 in 2020 and 45 in 2030.
  • • The unemployment rate among university graduates in relation to total unemployed according to specialisation should drop from a current 35% to 30% in 2020 and then 20% in 2030.
  • • The number of Egyptian universities listed among the top 500 in the world should grow from the current one university to three universities in 2020 and seven in 2030.

  • • The growth rate of published research in previewed international journals should increase from the current rate of 13.6% to 15% in 2020 and 20% in 2030.
  • • The percentage of higher education institutions accredited by the national authority for quality assurance and accreditation should grow from the current 7.5% to 30% in 2020 and 80% in 2030.
  • • The higher education enrolment rate (18- to 22-year-olds) should rise from the current 31% to 35% in 2020 and 45% in 2030.
  • • The percentage of faculty members obtaining research scholarships from international universities should move from the current level of 0.2% to 1% in 2020 and 3% in 2030.
  • • The percentage of foreign students to total students enrolled in Egyptian universities should increase from the current 2% to 3% in 2020 and 6% in 2030.

  • • Public spending per students in higher education per specialisation should grow from a current value of EGP7,600 (US$480) per student to a satisfactory level jointly determined by the higher education ministry and the economic pillar.
  • • The number of students per faculty should rise from a current value of 1:42 to 1:38 in 2020 and 1:35 in 2030.
  • • The number of universities according to density, specialisation and geographical distributions should increase from the current 44 to 50 in 2020 and 64 in 2030.
To achieve the indicators, several initiatives will be launched including establishing higher education institutions in partnership with civil society and the private sector, human capital development for university lecturers, and forging links between university graduates and employers at local, regional and international levels.

Further, an 'Egyptian diploma equivalence system' and recognition of higher education certificates will be developed, along with curricula based on a new national qualifications framework, higher education quality will be enhanced, and the higher education admissions system will be updated.