In an academic first in Egypt, Cairo University has cut its Bachelor of Engineering degree from five years to four, starting this year.
Academics and students have welcomed the new policy, which will apply to new and first-year students this fall, and is not obligatory.
In a statement detailing the new regulations, Mohamed Othman Elkhosht, president of Cairo University, said the decision will allow undergraduate engineering majors to graduate once they have completed their academic requirements, without having to complete a specific number of years of study. That means that for the first time they will be able to graduate in four years instead of five.
Elkhosht added that the decision also will allow students to study abroad for a full academic year, with certain conditions, or longer if there is a bilateral agreement with a foreign university.
Hossam Abdel Fattah, dean of Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering, said the new regulations would be based on the credit-hour system, which requires from 154 to 159 credit hours for graduation according to the study programme.
The change was proposed by a specialised academic committee that has been discussing changes in the Faculty of Engineering regulations for more than two years. The panel prepared the new regulations by consensus before submitting them to the university presidency for approval, a committee member who asked to remain anonymous told Al-Fanar Media.
The new regulations are based on the credit-hour system. They allow students to earn a bachelor’s degree after meeting academic requirements without specifying a number of years of study.
“There is support for implementing this regulation in engineering faculties in other public universities as a way to advance engineering education in Egypt,” the committee member added.
Abdel Fattah, the dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said the new system allows students to choose one of the general or specialised programmes, with certain conditions.
Abdel Fattah said the new regulations include 13 general programmes, 15 specialised programmes, and 12 sub-programmes, and require students to successfully complete summer training before they graduate.
Abdel Fattah said the main goal of the new regulations was to teach students in a way that keeps pace with developments in the engineering field, and train them in self-learning skills that will allow them to continue building while gaining hands-on practical experience.
Ahmed Yehia, a professor of electromechanics in the Faculty of Engineering, believes the new regulations have many advantages. They will shorten the students’ time to degree and enable them to continue postgraduate studies more easily afterward, he said.
“I will do my best to benefit from the new system and invest the extra year in gaining practical experience and preparing for postgraduate studies.”Mazen Hashem, an engineering student at Cairo University.
The new system “will not reduce the number of academic courses, but will work according to approved credit hours that are subject to specific standards from the Ministry of Higher Education and the Egyptian Engineers Syndicate as well,” Yehia said in a statement to Al-Fanar Media.
He added that summer studies will also be available now. It had not previously been possible to study year-round.
Students Welcome the New System
Anas Al-Rayyan, a first-year engineering student, thinks the decision is very positive. It will reduce the number of years for “those who can bear the educational pressure,” he told Al-Fanar Media.
Al-Rayyan said he liked the fact that the new regulations were optional and that those who preferred the traditional course were free to continue for five years.
Mazen Hashem, another student at the college, also greeted the changes enthusiastically and said he would try to graduate earlier than expected.
“I will do my best to benefit from the new system and invest the extra year in gaining practical experience and preparing for postgraduate studies,” Hashem said.
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