In an effort to gain a larger share of the global educational tourism market Egypt is seeking to attract more international students to the country’s universities through a new initiative that offers them scholarships, travel discounts, and residency rights.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research recently launched the “Egyptian Initiative for Scholarships and Educational Tourism” (EGYAID) as part of the National Strategy for Higher Education 2030.
At a ceremony to introduce the initiative, Ayman Ashour, Egypt’s minister of higher education, also announced a new educational tourism visa for international students, giving them residency rights during their studies in the country.
“Many Egyptian universities—public, private, and technical—have developed various academic programmes that allow international students to join new fields and majors such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and new and renewable energy sources,” Ashour said.
According to an international report, the global educational tourism market was worth an estimated $365.9 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent from 2023 to 2030.
Multiple Ministries Participate
The educational tourism initiative is being implemented by the Ministry of Higher Education in coordination with the Ministries of Civil Aviation, Culture, Tourism and Antiquities, and Transport. It is part of the larger “Study in Egypt” initiative, which promotes Egypt as a study destination for international students.
“Many Egyptian universities—public, private, and technical—have programmes that allow international students to join new fields and majors such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and new and renewable energy sources.”Ayman Ashour, Egypt’s minister of higher education.
Ashour noted that under the new initiative, international students could earn degrees in Egypt that will prepare them with integrated skills needed for innovation and entrepreneurship. They may also participate in international and dual-degree programmes involving Egyptian universities and major international universities.
The initiative offers a 25 percent discount for international students and their families who travel on EgyptAir. Other benefits for international students include discounted subscription cards for internal travel, full and partial scholarships at the Egyptian Academy of Arts, and a 50 percent discount on all cultural creativity centers and tickets for the Egyptian Opera House concerts.
High Standards for Applicants
According to the Ministry of Higher Education’s statistics, the number of international students applying for bachelor’s degree programmes at Egyptian universities increased by 33 percent in the 2022–2023 academic year, compared to the previous year, with 34,407 applications, compared to 25,701 in 2021–2022. Universities admitted 75 percent of international students applying for bachelor’s degree programmes last year, the figures show.
The ministry also reports an increase in the number of international students applying for postgraduate studies, reaching 6,001 students last year.
The initiative provides scholarships to students from “friendly and brotherly” countries, along with comprehensive social, cultural and medical support, Ashour said.
To qualify for a scholarship, foreign students applying for an undergraduate degree must show academic excellence by obtaining a cumulative average of no less than 70 percent in their high school-exit exams, said Sherif Saleh, head of the Central Administration for International Student Affairs at the Ministry of Higher Education.
Candidates for postgraduate courses must show good grades in their bachelor’s degree programmes.
Many Egyptian academics and students welcome the initiative. Abdul-Latif Mahmoud, a professor of educational research at Sohag University, believes that this step will help attract students from various countries, especially Arab and African countries.
“Egypt has all the ingredients needed to increase the chances of the initiative’s success, including the abundance of universities, the expansion of majors required in the international labour market, and the low living cost compared to competing countries.”Abdul-Latif Mahmoud, Professor of educational research at Sohag University.
“Egypt has all the ingredients needed to increase the chances for the initiative’s success, including the abundance of universities, the expansion of majors required in the international labour market, and the low cost of living compared to competing countries in light of the decline in the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound against U.S. dollar,” he told Al-Fanar Media.
“The initiative is likely to increase Egypt’s share in the educational tourism market in the region,” Mahmoud added. “However, to achieve a real increase in international students, attention must be paid to improving education quality and adherence to international standards.”
Mahmoud Sadiq, an Iraqi student who recently graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Alexandria University, also welcomes the initiative.
“While there are many positive aspects in studying in Egypt, I believe there is a need to consider reducing the number of students in practical colleges,” he told Al-Fanar Media.
Alaa Adel, an Iraqi doctoral student at Cairo University, believes that the study system in Egypt, even if it seems “difficult,” helps the student learn and develop quickly.”
“Honestly, the professors are creative,” she said. “They have high capabilities and qualities.”
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