Basic education (kindergarten, primary, and preparatory school) is compulsory for 9 years (4-14 years of age) to everyone who joined the first grade of primary education between 1999-2000 and after. All levels of education are free in government run schools. Education services are offered by more than 41,000 public schools and 6,000 private schools.
Egypt’s total public education’s allocated budget for 2017/2018 is EGP 80 bn (USD 4.6 billion) or 1.84% of GDP. In 2012-2013, there were 18 million students, of which 16.6 million enrolled in public education. The country has a population of school aged children of 4.8 million in pre-primary, 12.5m in primary, 10.5m in secondary an 8.3m in tertiary school. Households contribute to education financing. In 2012-2013, education accounted for 3.7% of the annual average individual spending. In the same period, 42% of annual household expenditure on education was dedicated to tutoring, 38.3% for tuition and school fees, 6.9% for textbooks and writing tools, 4.4% for clothing and schoolbags, and 0.9% for other education expenses. The high share of household expenditure on tutoring is due to high demxand of private tutoring (up to 1.6 % of Egypt’s GDP) for the preparation of the Thanawiya Amma national examination, which results determine secondary graduation and admission to tertiary education.
The general education sector budget in Egypt is divided between the budget of the Ministry of Education, 29 education directorates at the muddiriya (governorate or province) level, and the services authorities affiliated with the sector. In 2012 the Ministry of Finance transferred EGP 210 million (USD 30 million) to every muddiriya for maintenance and EGP 15.17 million (USD 2.2 million) for nutrition programs. In the same year, the Investment bank transferred EGP 350 million (USD 50 million) for the improvement of conditions in targeted technical schools. In 2009-2010, the share of expenditure categorized by the level of government was 54% by the national level, 42% by muddiriyat, and 4% by schools.
In 2007, Egypt decentralized education financing through called BAB 2 and BAB 6, which are based on based on a standard formula of school enrollment, relative poverty, and school type criteria. BAB2 is for recurrent school maintenance and BAB 6 is for technical education budgets. In fiscal year 2011/12, the Ministry of Education (MOE) decentralized EGP 557.7M in BAB2 and BAB6 funds nationwide, although it represents a small portion of the total education budget.
Government initiatives for targeted groups include resources, school equipment, transportation, awareness campaigns, and teacher training for children with disability in pre-university education and girls in elementary education.
One of the largest programs is the National School Feeding program at school, which targets students from poor and needy households. In 2016 the Government invested USD 110 million or 3% of the total education expenditure and reached 12.5 million students (45% of compulsory education school aged children). The National School Feeding Program is aligned with Egypt’s MDG 2 Strategic Plan on ending hunger, and support families in a situation of poverty. The government plans to expand the program to reach all government-run schools.
The MoE in alliance with NGOs, local communities and UNICEF implements programs for targeted population such as the Community-based School model for out of school children in deprived areas and a program for refugees. In 2017, these programs had a total budget of USD 4.45 million (0.006% of education expenditure).
The Community-based School model targets out-of-school children with special focus on girls in deprived areas with no access to public primary schools. The MoE is responsible for the provision of salaries, textbooks, teacher supervision, sanitation and basic health. Likewise, the Ministry of Education and Technical Education works with UNICEF and NGOs to ensure that refugee and migrant children access quality education from pre-primary level to post basic level through education cash grants, distribution of educational material and provision of teacher training with additional focus on life skills.
There is no publicly available information on government scholarships, especially focusing on compulsory education.
Takaful and Karama are components of a cash transfer program run by the Ministry of Social Solidarity targeting poor households. Since 2015, Takaful (“Solidarity”, 8.3 million beneficiaries) supports poor families with a maximum of 3 children per household, while Karama (“Dignity”, 1.6 million beneficiaries) supports the elderly poor and people living with disabilities. The program has enrolled 2.25 million families (9.4% of Egyptian households) across all of Egypt's governorates.
Takaful requires children ages 6 to 18 to ensure school attendance and participation in health screenings of their children. The amount of the transfer depends on the number of children and their school level. Households receive a basic monthly transfer of EGP 325 (US$ 20.6) with additional support depending of the age of children (EGP 140 or US$ 8.9 for secondary level children, EGP 100 or US$ 6.3 for preparatory stage students, EGP 80 or US$ 5 per primary level student, and EGP 60 or US$ 3.8 for 0-6-year-old children). Takaful has 8.3 million beneficiaries (8% of the population), which multiplied by a basic monthly transfer of EGP 325 results in EGP 2.7 billion (USD 171 million or 0.2% of Egypt’s 2019 public expenditure).
The Karama component provides unconditional cash transfers to disabled and elderly beneficiaries above the age of 65, orphans and people with disabilities. This component has reached 1.6 million beneficiaries (1.6% of the population).
In partnership with the World Food Program, the government seeks to expand the reach of school feeding days, improve the content and nutritional value of school meals, and implement nutritional awareness programs. Other school feeding activities include Family Take-Home Rations (THR), distributed on a monthly basis under the condition of 80% school attendance. The THR introduced electronic food vouchers which benefited 15,000 children and their families in five governorates benefited in 2016.