Eight of Egypt’s 25 private universities have begun to offer graduate programs, awarding diplomas, master’s and doctoral degrees for the first time after a decision earlier this year by the Supreme Council of Private and Community Universities allowed them to do so.
Previously, graduate programs were allowed only at public universities and at a small group of private institutions in a separate category, those with international agreements, which include the American University in Cairo.
This change by the council, a governmental body within the Ministry of Higher Education, will mean more opportunities for students aspiring to higher education beyond a bachelor’s degree.
The decision has its critics, though. Many complain about the higher tuition fees at private institutions, and some express concerns about how to assure the quality of the education the institutions will provide. There are also concerns about the employment prospects of a larger number of students graduating with master’s and doctoral degrees at a time when college graduates already account for a large share of Egypt’s unemployed.
Advantages for Some Students
But students like Ashraf Mohammed Sayyid are willing to take their chances. Sayyid enrolled at the private October 6 University to pursue a master’s degree in business management this year, after obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the same university. He aspires to obtain an academic job at his university, which requires a master’s degree to be a faculty member.