News and Events: Press releases

UN Girls’ Education Initiative launches learning series with focus on model achievements in Egypt

Cairo, 26 February 2008 – Egypt’s model to advance and accelerate girls’ education has been highlighted here today by means of an independent report illustrating the product of multilateral collaboration in the 2002-2007 period.

The opening ceremony was inaugurated by Egypt’s First Lady, Ms. Suzanne Mubarak who congratulated all involved parties in the development of the strategy and the statistical achievements illustrating almost universal female enrolment into primary schools in Egypt.

Describing achievements in the enrolment of an estimated 180,000 primary school age girls and the establishment of over 5,000 girl-friendly schools in 7 governorates, the report underlines the dedication of local voluntary teams, teachers and facilitators in the shaping of community structures. This guarantees sustained access of girls’ to schooling opportunities where quality learning is provided alongside free tuition, regular food rations and joyful, gender-sensitive learning.

Ronald G. Sultana, author of the report and Professor of Educational Sociology and Comparative Education at the University of Malta praised the mission so far carried out by Egypt’s Girls’ Education Secretariat (a structure within the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, NCCM), as well as participating Ministries, UN agencies, private sector and NGOs to incorporate the larger notion of quality education for schools within underserved environments where individuals and community have joint-handedly promoted access to essential schooling and ensured girls’ completion of (at least) the primary education cycle.

According to Professor Sultana, there are gaps that require urgent tackling. Those include Egypt’s need for more classrooms, trained and empowered teachers and adequate compensation for their dedication. “Urban versus rural imbalances in quality, access and learning achievements need also to be observed”, added Sultana. Other causes of girls’ absenteeism from schools in Egypt include the location of buildings in remote areas, child labor, early marriage and low awareness of the value of education, the report adds.

We have the opportunity, knowledge and resources to address systemic needs as well as the quality of education, said Sigrid Kaag, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Both Governments and the private sector acknowledge the urgency of filling a gender gap, focusing on quality learning and relevance, and developing critical skills”, she added. 

“It is because Egypt’s Girls’ Education Initiative is gradually transforming power relations—not just between males and females, but also between learners and teachers, and between communities and official government structures that the achievements are all the more commendable”, concludes Sultana’s report launched here today.


For further information, please contact:

Malak Zaalouk (Ph.D), Regional Education Adviser, UNICEF MENA-RO
E-mail:  HYPERLINK "" / Mobile +962795219645

Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, Regional Chief of Communication, UNICEF MENA-RO
E-mail : HYPERLINK "" / Mobile: +96279 700 4567

Wolfgang Friedl, Communication Officer UNICEF MENA-RO,
E-mail:  HYPERLINK "" / Mobile: +96279 573 2745


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