Education in Egypt
Egypt – education
The education system in Egypt is strongly influenced by the large population growth. Illiteracy is a major problem, especially among the older part of the population.
The country actually has two education systems that offer education at all levels, a public, secular system, controlled by the Ministry of Education and regional authorities, and a religious system, al-Azhar, named after the oldest university in Cairo and governed by the Ministry of Religion. The vast majority of students are taught within the secular system. In the religious system, Islam plays a major role, but otherwise the same subjects are taught in both systems. In addition to these public, free systems, there are private paid schools, which are sought by 8% of compulsory schoolers (1988). Just under 10% never go to school (1991).
There is eight years of compulsory schooling, comprising a five-year primary school, followed by a three-year preparatory school providing access to a three-year high school or to vocational schools of three to five years’ duration. About half of the students continue in these youth educations. Higher education is offered at universities and other higher education institutions.
Egypt is a republic of northeastern Africa. The vast majority of the country is uninhabited desert, and for millennia the Nile, which like a thin line cuts through the country from south to north, has been crucial to settlement and culture. Virtually the entire population lives in the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta out to the Mediterranean, an extremely densely populated area that makes up only 4% of the country’s area.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Find two-letter abbreviation for each independent country and territory, such as EG which stands for Egypt.
The following articles are about modern Egypt, ie. from approximately 600 AD with the Islamic conquest, while articles on ancient Egypt can be found here.
Egypt – Constitution
The 1971 Constitution describes Egypt as an “Arab republic with a democratic, socialist system”. Islam is the state religion. The executive power lies with the president, who is nominated by the People’s Assembly and then has to be approved by a referendum. His term of office is six years. The President may appoint one or more Vice-Presidents and appoint all Ministers; there is a tradition of two ministerial posts being occupied by Copts. The president can dismiss vice presidents and ministers and set out the policies to be pursued by the government. Legislative power lies with the National Assembly with 444 directly elected members and up to ten members appointed by the President; the election period is five years. In addition, there is an advisory assembly, Maglis al-Shura, with 210 members, of which 2/ 3 is selected and 1/3 are designated by the President.
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Egypt – political parties
The political system in Egypt has undergone major changes since the country’s independence in 1922. From 1922 until 1952, the system was formally pluralistic with several different parties, but as the constitution had delegated great powers to the monarch, it meant in practice that the dominant political party, the Wafd, only rarely had the political power.
The Free Officers, who seized power in a coup in July 1952, soon after banned all political parties. Instead, various unitary organizations were created, namely the Freedom Union 1952-54, the National Union 1957-62 and the Arab Socialist Union 1962-78, which were to act as a link between the military political leadership and the people. Of these, only the Arab Socialist Union (ASU) came to play a role, although the decisive political power came to lie with the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC).
In the mid-1970’s, the political system was liberalized. Initially, within the framework of ASU, the possibility of establishing factions was created, and from 1977 it was allowed to form actual political parties. The formation of religiously based parties was prohibited by law.
The political life in Egypt was then until 2011 dominated by the National Democratic Party, which has won all elections since 1978. The new Wafd party, established in 1978, was banned and only had the opportunity to re-establish itself in 1983. Both and several smaller center-left parties have occasionally boycotted parliamentary elections, citing the military state of emergency that took effect after Sadat was assassinated in October 1981, allowing the regime to intimidate other political parties.
After the 2011 revolution, the National Democratic Party was banned; The Muslim Brotherhood formed the Freedom and Justice Party, which won the 2011/12 election. However, the party was banned again after the unrest after the coup in 2013. There are now a large number of parties in Egypt.
Egypt – economy
Under Soviet Influence, President Nasser 1954-70 allowed the state to play a dominant role in the economy of society; for example, banks and companies were nationalized, prices and profits were regulated, five-year development plans were introduced and industry was shielded from competition, e.g. through a protectionist trade policy. In the long run, however, the consequence was an inefficiently functioning economy.
The rapprochement with the United States after 1972 led to a more liberal economic policy, but a proposal in 1977 to abolish price subsidies resulted in violent unrest, incited by Muslim movements. The political-economic consequences of this were considerable, and yet significant parts of Egypt’s economy are marked by state regulations; thus, costly food subsidies are still required. State-owned enterprises are gradually being privatized.
The strong population growth poses a threat to the development of the labor market, which is already rigid and plagued by major problems. There are a large number of underemployed; in 2005, unemployment was calculated at approximately 10%, but was probably much larger and would be even larger if not around 2 million. were guest workers abroad, especially in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Europe and the United States. Women make up only 14% of the workforce.
Income transfers from guest workers, along with Suez Canal taxes, tourism, oil sales and large subsidies from the United States in particular, are important sources of income for the country. Pga. attacks in tourist areas (1997, 2004, 2005 and 2006), however, tourism revenues are uncertain; The country was also hit hard in this respect after 9/11/2001. Traditionally, Egypt has had large current account deficits, especially due to a chronic trade deficit, which has led to massive debt problems. In 1986, the government had to conclude an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, IMF, on financial support, which was made conditional on economic reforms. The IMF agreement and Egypt’s efforts in the Gulf War paved the way for the country’s official creditors to offer a comprehensive debt reduction agreement in the early 1990’s, which has been a major reason why Egypt has had a balance of payments surplus since 1991.
After a ten-year horse cure, the country experienced a general recovery in the economy and in 2005 achieved a GDP growth of 5%. Although the reduction of the budget deficit and the privatization of state-owned enterprises took place at a very slow pace, the country made progress in reforming the financial markets and trade barriers were broken down in the form of gradual tariff reductions. Furthermore, a new liberal legislation sought to encourage foreign direct investment in the country, and foreign capital participates in major colonization projects in Sinai and Upper Egypt.
The main trading partners (2005) were the USA, Italy and Germany. A free trade agreement between the EU and the Mediterranean states is expected to enter into force in 2010. In 2005, Denmark’s exports to Egypt amounted to DKK 712 million. DKK, while imports amounted to 81 mill. Among the most important Danish export goods are production equipment, e.g. wind turbines, feed and dairy products. The Danish trade surplus with Egypt is more than offset by the channel use of Danish ships and by Danish tourists. Danish aid to Egypt is being phased out until 2008.
Egypt – social conditions
During the reign of President Nasser (1954-70), a large number of subsidies were introduced on basic foods such as wheat, wheat flour, beans, sugar, edible oil and maize, and later on petrol, electricity and gas. The subsidies are being phased out at the request of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, but still constitutes the only social security for poor Egyptians. According to the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, approximately 34% of the population in 1990 lived below the official poverty line. Public employees have both health insurance and a pension that is roughly equivalent to their salary, but the average salary is relatively low and most have to have more than one job. approximately therefore, one third of all Egyptian men work for shorter or longer periods in the oil states of the Persian Gulf.
In the countryside, a large group of children is still considered to be the best social insurance. Pga. the deficient social policy, voluntary organizations, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, have taken over many social tasks, via a social assistance service for the disadvantaged, where widows and the unemployed can get clothes, food, money and free medical care. This has made the fraternity immensely popular in the slums of big cities. Check youremailverifier for Egypt social condition facts.
Egypt – health conditions
Mortality has halved since the 1960’s, while the birth rate has only been reduced by 25%, so population growth remains high. In the 1990’s, maternal mortality was almost 100 times higher than in Denmark. approximately 3-4% of GDP is spent on health, and there is one doctor per. approximately 5000 residents. The health authorities are betting that everyone on land and in the city will have access to primary health care; 90% have access to clean drinking water, but only 50% to good sanitation.
Therefore, infectious gastrointestinal diseases, bilharziasis and other parasitic diseases, still widespread. Malaria is found especially in the southern Nile Valley. As almost 90% of children follow the vaccination program, childhood diseases are strongly on the rise. Tuberculosis and other lung diseases are still prevalent. Cardiovascular diseases, accidents, including traffic accidents, and cancers are increasing in frequency. Egypt has a large, exporting pharmaceutical industry.
Egypt – military
The armed forces are (2006) 468,500, of which just over half are conscripts with one to three years of service. The Army has 340,000, the Navy 18,500 and the Air Force as well as the Air Force 110,000. The reserve is 479,000. All three defenses are switching from Soviet-supplied or Chinese older equipment to mixed older and modern Western-type equipment, which is increasingly being produced in Egypt. With a large number of units with heavy, armored equipment and a small number of light elite units, the army is adapted to both the geography and the domestic political situation. The security forces have approximately 330,000.
Egypt – mass media
Throughout the post-war period, Cairo has been a media center not only for Egypt, but for the entire Arab world. This is due not only to the proliferation of the major Egyptian newspapers to the rest of the Arab world and the large number of listeners abroad on Egyptian state radio abroad, but also to the Egyptian news agency MENA (Middle East News Agency), which is the main common news source.
Egypt’s leading newspaper is Al-Ahram (Grdl. 1875; daily circulation 900,000, Friday circulation 1.1 million (2006)), which draws and interprets the interests of official Egypt, in the same way as Al-Akhbar (grdl. 1952; circulation 780,000 (2006)).)) do it in a lighter style.
Freedom of the press is guaranteed in the 1971 constitution, which directly prohibits censorship, but a number of special laws following the assassination of President Sadat in 1981 have made it possible to censor and confiscate newspapers anyway. A press law from 1980 also makes it a criminal offense to publish information that could harm Egyptian interests. In practice, the government has often simply preferred to exercise indirect control over the largest and most important dailies. The press is dominated by four publishing companies, in which the state owns 51% of the shares. Privately owned newspapers have been allowed since 1980, but have not become more widespread.
Both radio and television are under direct state control and reflect the views of the government more closely than the print media. The foreign service, the Voice of the Arabs, can be received anywhere in the Arab world and has a significant influence throughout the region, especially in countries where control of radio news is stricter than in Egypt. Television was introduced in 1960, and from 1990 the two state channels can be received in many Arab states via satellite.
Egypt – architecture and visual arts
With the Arab conquest of the country in the 600’s. introduced an Islamic building tradition unrelated to older architecture in Egypt. Most of the preserved architectural monuments are found in Cairo, thus the oldest mosque, Ámrs, (founded 641-42, rebuilt 827), a colonnaded hall with a square courtyard with colonnades in front. This form is repeated in Ibn Tulun’s Mosque from 879; with it was introduced the Abbasid art, which here reached a climax. A refined ornamentation conforms to the pure geometric shape; the prayer hall is a five-nave building with wide brick pillars and horseshoe-shaped arches, while the ornamentation is a continuation of the Samarra style with strongly stylized leaf ornamentation in stucco and wood. At the founding of Cairo during the Fatimids in 969, al-Azhar became-the mosque built according to the same principles with a façade decoration from the 1100’s that recalls Persian art. The mosque was and still is an important seat of learning, under the Fatimid Shiites, later under the Ayyubids Sunni; a number of later additions, domes and minarets today obscure the original, clear form. A few Fatimid private houses with two habitats next to a farm have been excavated in Fustat.
In Cairo and Aswan, from the beginning of the 1000’s, a series of square, dome-covered brick mausoleums with curved entrances on one or more sides were built. Often a mashhad was attached to a mausoleum, a smaller prayer hall with functions other than the mosque. From this period also derive Cairo’s impressive city walls, built of block stone. Highlights in the art of the Fatimids, in addition to the stucco and woodcuts of architecture, are a number of works in rock crystal, several of which found their way to Europe’s churches. They are carved with leaf ornaments and vines as well as some animal motifs related to the woodcuts. Figure and animal representations are found on luster-painted ceramics as well as stylized plant ornaments; the shapes are simple, mostly dishes and containers. In particular, the portrayals testify to Egypt’s multireligious population. A number of animal figures in cast bronze, including the great grip of the Cathedral of Pisa, is believed to have been made in Egypt; here, too, a refined, detailed ornamentation is subject to the simple form. Despite Egypt’s position as one of the most important Islamic centers of learning, there are today only a few illuminated books that can be attributed to this, a number of early Qur’anic and Jewish Bibles from the 800-900-t. with richly illuminated frontispieces.
The Mamluks, who took power in the country in 1250, were great builders who liked to erect monuments to themselves. In the 1280’s, Qalaun had a building complex built, consisting of a Koranic school, a mausoleum, and a hospital around a central courtyard with four ivory tombs. Here, too, there is exquisite stucco work, where geometric patterns, plant and arabesque motifs alternate with inscription friezes. This further development of the art of the Tulunids was mixed with impulses from other Mediterranean areas, first and foremost Syria. Monumental street facades with niches, muqarnas and ornamental inscriptions characterize the architecture of the era, but are only rarely matched by the disposition of the buildings behind. With their many functions, they had to adapt to irregular plots such as Hasan’s huge building complex in Cairo (started in 1356). Its center is a farm with four habits,
The handicrafts under the mamlukkers continued previous materials and techniques, but refined them with refined patterns that required high technical and geometric skills. The large silver and gold inlaid bronze vessels testify to this, as do the Qur’an covers and inlaid woodwork for the mosque doors, windows, pulpits and Qur’an pulpits. Clear geometric patterns also characterize the often very large knotted rugs from approximately 1500, called mamluktæpper. Among the glass works of the time, the highlight is the richly enamelled mosque lamps.
After the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in the early 1500-t. the architecture was influenced by the style of the victors. In the 1800’s. introduced European building style, which often went hand in hand with the local and Ottoman. Imports from Europe and Europeans’ interest in older Egyptian handicrafts contributed to the stagnation of developments in Egyptian handicrafts.
Egypt – literature
Egyptian literature falls into three parts: Ancient literature is dealt with in the article Egypt in antiquity; the period approximately 600-approx. 1800 is treated under Arabic literature.
After approximately 1800
Egyptian literature was at the beginning of the 1800’s stagnant in imitation of late classical models without visions and contact with the outside world.
The modernization of society under Viceroy Muhammad Ali in the period 1805-48 also gave impetus to cultural life. Translations of European books into Arabic made the language suitable for expressing new thoughts; introduction of an Arabic printing house (from 1813) and an improved school system created a reading audience. Young people were sent to Europe, most often Paris, to study. One of them was Rifaa Rafi al-Tahtawi, who wrote a charming book about his impressions of French culture. As a teacher, translator and writer, he gained great influence.
After the middle of the century, a cultural awakening (al-Nahda) took place in Egypt and Syria/Lebanon. An Arabic-language press emerged from the 1860’s, journalists and officials began writing essays and short stories, often with an instructive aim. At the same time, poetry gained new vitality as a mouthpiece for current national movements, but still in classical verse forms; Mahmoud Sami al-Barudi (1839-1904), Prime Minister during the Urab Uprising of 1882, was the pioneer.
The first Egyptian novel, Zaynab, was written in 1912 by Muhammad Haykal. It depicts a peasant girl’s unhappy love story set in an idyllic setting of country life. The master of the novel was Naguib Mahfouz, who in 1988 became the first Arab to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The transition from the country to the city, from traditionalism to modernism, was lived through by the blind literate and cultural politician Taha Husayn, whose childhood memories, al-Ayyam (1929, The Days) have become a classic. The short story has been cultivated intensely with the greatest impact by the socially engaged doctor Yusuf Idris. He also wrote plays in dialect. Drama was a new genre in Egyptian literature. The big name is Tawfiq al-Hakim, who was inspired by surreal and absurd theater. Sharp criticism of the political unification under Nasser and Sadatwe meet in novels by Sun Allah Ibrahim (b. 1937) and Gamal al-Ghitani (1945-2015). Yusuf al-Qaid (b. 1944) has portrayed the oppression of the peasants with psychological empathy and indignation.
Important themes in recent Egyptian literature are migration, alienation, and social critique. The Nubian Haggag Oddoul (b. 1944) has in short stories portrayed the life of the Nubian community, which disappeared with the construction of the Aswan dam. Mahmud el-Wardani (b. 1950) expresses his frustration with the repressive political system in the novel Musiqa al-Mall (2005, The Music of the Square). Hamdi Abu Golayyel (b. 1968), a Bedouin of origin, reveals in Lusūs mutaqā’idūn (2002, Retired Thieves) the hypocrisy under the mask of morality of certain Islamists.
Alā al-Aswāni (Alaa al-Aswany, b. 1957) has with his novel Imārat Yaqūbian (1998, da. Yacoubian House, 2007) given a close and mildly satirical picture of Egyptian society in decay, depicting the life of a originally distinguished residential property from its construction in 1934 to the present. The fact that the book has been published in Egypt – and become a bestseller in the Arab world – testifies to the fact that censorship has become milder.
A number of female writers, such as Alifa Rifaat (1930-96) and Nawal al-Sadawi, have addressed the woman’s social and sexual problems. Many of the critical books have been published in Beirut because they have been subject to Egyptian censorship, and several authors have been imprisoned, especially in Nasser’s time. Today, the Islamic wave poses a threat to free speech.
A particular problem for Arabic writers, not least playwrights, is the great distance between written and spoken language. In the Egyptian-national mood of the 1920’s and 1930’s, many, led by the Coptic Salama Musa (1887-1958), favored the dialect as a written language. Gradually, most people write in the common Arabic written language, while the dialect is reserved for amusement games and popular films.
Egypt – music
Egyptian music belongs to the Arabic music for which Cairo is an important center. The music is unanimous and does not use chords. It is built on an advanced system of modes (maqam) and rhythms (iqaat). The octave is divided into 24 equal intervals, creating tones that are not known in Western music.
Egyptian music exhibits certain features in common with Turkish and Persian music, especially in the field of maqam and instrumentation; in addition to the common Islamic basis, it is due to the fact that Egypt formed part of the Ottoman Empire (1517-1882).
Cairo has a significant film music production that has spread throughout the rest of the Arab world. At the same time, there is also an extensive pop music industry with genres like al- jil and shaabi as the most well known. Music for the Egyptian belly dance raqs sharqi has also gained great popularity in Europe and the United States.
Among the most significant serious Egyptian music names of recent times are the singer Umm Kalthum (1908-75) and the composer Abdul Wahaab (1910-91).
Egypt – film
Feature films have been produced in Egypt since 1923, and until film production was nationalized in the 1960’s, the country produced about 80 films annually. Since the 1990’s, Egyptian films have been in crisis: large parts of the film industry have been reprivated, but competition from satellite channels and video is fierce, while political unrest in the region has hampered exports. The annual production is now around 20 films, but Egypt is still the largest film nation in the Arab and African countries. A large part of the films are produced in “Hollywood of the Orient”, the Misr studios in Cairo, which opened in 1935.
Since the breakthrough of the sound film in 1932, the melodramatic song and dance film has been dominant and had its own stars, the legendary Uum Kalthum (1908-75). In the 1950’s, directors Salah Abou Seif (1915-96) and especially Youssef Chahine laid the groundwork for a personal, more socially oriented and sometimes direct political film art that has occasionally had difficulty with censorship. Both Seif and Chahine have filmed novels by Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, and Chahine is credited with discovering actor Omar Sharif and making him a star.