The overcrowded and underfunded classrooms in public schools across Egypt are emerging as an important test for Abdel Fattah El-Sisi the President of Egypt and the vow he made to educate a workforce that would be able to drag the country’s economy from its worst slump in more than 20 years.
Employers have complained of a lack of talent that they claim must be a priority for El-Sisi in his agenda that thus far is focused on attracting foreign investment and quieting its Islamist opponents.
One leading business owner said the education machine in Egypt just grinds its students to memorize things and they graduate not having even the basic skills.
Egypt is ranked No. 51 in a recent survey of 60 countries in the ability to train as well as retain skilled employees.
Since the popular Arab Spring uprising in 2011, little has been taken into consideration. The protests by the young called for more access to education as well as healthcare, but things have changed very little.
One third of the school teachers paid by the state do not even attend work and over 70% of the students rely on private tuition in order to learn just the basics.
Playgrounds, let alone art facilities and music, are rare. One in about five buildings is not fit for use with poor sanitation and water according to a U.N. Children’s fund.
Heads of business say the government is spending very little and teachers are paid poorly, adding to the bad infrastructure overall in the system, which has led parents to look for better alternatives.
Egypt invests only $620 per year on each student during his or her primary as well secondary education. The average amongst the developed countries is $9,250. Authorities said they are planning to increase the spending on education and on healthcare to 10% of the total gross domestic product within two years.
The Minister of Education said this past March that the country’s education system was a top priority for the El-Sisi government buy many have complained nothing of significance has been done since then.