Education can do wonders for anyone around the world. In many nations, however, there are young girls who are never given the opportunity to learn how to read, write and communicate.
In Egypt, women are on the lower end of the literacy scale — 65 percent of women are literate compared to 82 percent of men. Interestingly, though, Egypt on the world scale ranks 78 in the “best country for women” and 44 for “best country for education.” Although, Egypt isn’t immune to progress, here are 10 facts about girls’ education in Egypt and how far the nation has come.
10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Egypt
- More girls in Egypt are going to school. Education is becoming more and more accessible to girls in Egypt. In 1996, 66.9 percent of girls in Egypt were literate; this number has increased to 90.3 percent in 2013.
- Educating girls is better for the economy. When girls and women are educated there are more jobs for everyone. Low and middle-income countries can add $92 billion a year to their economies if girls went to school for 12 years.
- World Education’s integrated literacy initiative is changing lives. The World Education’s integrated literacy initiative brings health education to girls in Egypt, which for many, is a first-time exposure. This initiative encourages girls to become more educated and also promotes them to better take care of themselves.
- USAID brings education opportunities to Egypt. USAID carries out U.S. foreign policy to reduce poverty and help with international development. In Egypt, USAID works to reduce the gender enrollment gap at each level of education, and also offers improved access for girls to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
- The number of out-of-school girls has decreased. In 2014, 153,405 girls were out of school. This number dropped significantly in 2016 to 45,132, which demonstrates that more children — especially girls — are attending school.
- Education empowers girls in Egypt. Educated women in Egypt are standing up for what they believe and taking a stand against gender prejudice. There are many in Egypt who believe that women shouldn’t receive an education because they will just end up married. In protest of this view, educated women in Egypt state that “education is the key to development” and every girl needs this key.
- Egypt plans to end illiteracy in three years. The Ministry of Local Development in Egypt announced in June that they plan to end illiteracy in Egypt within the next three years. Some of the steps to reach this goal is to require each student to teach up to eight illiterate people, provide a reward system so students teach others and organize training courses for teachers.
- Poverty affects girls’ education in Egypt. Roughly 45 percent of the Egyptian population lives in poverty and on an income of less than $2 a day. Due to this fiscal poverty, proper education gets put on the back burner for many families.
- Egypt’s literacy rate has grown in the last 10 years. In 2005, the literacy rate in Egypt for girls from 15 to 24 was 78.95 percent, and in 2013 it rose to 90.33 percent.
- More girls are in primary and tertiary education than boys. The school system in Egypt divides the level of education by age. Pre-primary is four to five years old, primary is six to eleven-year-olds, secondary is 12 to 17-year-olds and tertiary is 18 to 22-year-olds. Currently in Egypt, girls make up 103.67 percent of primary level education where boys make up 103.59 percent. In tertiary education, girls make up 34.85 percent of those enrolled and boys make up 34.04 percent.
Increasing Access to Education
These facts about girls’ education in Egypt demonstrate how the fight for equality is still progressing. Girls crave knowledge just as much as boys do, and thankfully there are many ways other boys, girls, men and women can get involved in helping support girls in developing countries receive the proper education.
One easy way to support access to education to girls in Egypt and those in other developing countries is supporting the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act and getting government officials to support this act as well.
– Victoria Fowler