The British Council and Teaching English report into English language teaching and learning in Egypt notes that there is “little public trust in state-provided education”.
It adds that there is no shortage of students being able to access private tuition and most of them do regardless of how wealthy they are.
“There is little public trust in state-provided education”
With a national curriculum goal to ensure that students can communicate in English when they leave school, Hamish McIlwraith, one of the report’s authors, noted the country effectively has a private education system alongside the state one.
“What came out of the findings was a demonstration that parents place an enormous amount of commitment in terms of money and time into their child’s education by giving them private lessons and private tutoring, however poor or rich they may be in order that they might give us a child the best opportunity possible in life,” he told The PIE News.
The report cites prior research that families spend on average $2bn a year on private tuition. “There is little public trust in state-provided education,” it says.
“Your parents and your family will pay what they can afford,” commented McIlwraith.
“But there is a sort of expectation if you’re going to give your child the best chance it’s not a question of accessibility, there’s always provision, it’s a question of what you can afford.”
Not enough class time, low pay, and large class sizes contribute to the low quality of teaching in the state sector, according to the report.
It further states that “the development of ‘good’ lesson plans is founded on knowledge of, rather than use of, the language as one might expect in a communicative classroom”.
“If you look at the national institutions which have a different orientation, they are trying to ensure that there’s a different style of teaching,” McIlwraith commented.
“Everyone appears to be restricted by the end of the secondary school test”
“But everyone appears to be restricted by the end of the secondary school test.”
Both students and teachers surveyed for the report expressed that English is valuable.
All but four of the 190 students asked agreed or strongly agreed that learning English is important to their future, with 179 agreeing that it increases their status in the community.
In addition, around 90% of teachers interviewed agreed or strongly agreed that teaching English enriches their personal identity, with almost 96% agreeing that lots of people being able to use English is good for Egypt.
“I think [there’s] an opportunity for international organisations, language schools, international providers, universities to engage in training,” acknowledged McIlwraith, adding that “it’s there to be a springboard for discussion and further development whether it’s from larger institutions and organisations or other providers.”