The term ‘ICT’ is used in government plans and strategy documents, such as the 2014-30 Strategic Plan for Pre-University Education, which aims to “expand the use of ICT applications in planning, follow-up, evaluation and decision-making on all levels”. This Strategic Plan also uses the term ‘edtech’, which refers to the technological infrastructure of schools, i.e the presence of technological equipment in school buildings, such as computer laboratories.
No specific definition of ‘ICT’ or ‘edtech’ were found in the educational laws.
Constitution and laws: Article 19 of the 2014 Constitution promotes innovation and scientific thinking. Moreover, article 25 aims to improve “digital literacy” among all citizens; it commits to developing implementation mechanisms to eradicate digital illiteracy with the participation of civil society institutions. The 2014 Constitution in Arabic and the official translation in English do not refer to technology explicitly. The official translation in English says in article 20 that “the state commits to encourage and develop technical education and professional training and expand all types thereof in accordance with global quality criteria, in keeping with the needs of the labor market”; however, some unofficial translations of the Constitution used the term ‘’technological education’’ instead of “technical education”, leading the 2014 -2030 Strategic Plan of Pre-University Education to cite the Constitution saying: “The State shall encourage and develop technical and technological education as well as vocational training, and expand all their types in accordance with international quality standards and in accordance with labor market needs.”.
Articles 3 and 15 of the 1981 Education Law number 139 state that free access to basic education and pre-university education is a right for all. Article 70 in the Education Law number 155 of 2007 (amended version of the 139/1981 Education Law) states that the job descriptions and evaluations of technology experts are issued by the Minister of Education and Technical Education. Furthermore, the Prime Minister's decision No. 2840 of 2007, issuing the executive regulations for Chapter VII of the Education Law, promulgated by Law No. 139 of 1981, added under Law No. 155 of 2007, mentions in article 13 that the use and the application of technology in schools are crucial to improve education and create the required environment for students to communicate and increase their productivity.
The 2018 Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities mentions in article 3 that the Ministry of Education must provide the concerned students with special ICT tools to improve their educational communication and facilitates their learnings. This includes technological equipment for sign and Braille languages, handicap assistance, special software for persons with disabilities etc. This goes in line with the presidential initiative launched in 2016 to facilitate ICT accessibility in Education for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).
In 2018, the Ministry of Education (MoE) issued the Circular letter no.14 dated 25/12/2018 concerning the distribution of tablets, which aims to provide all students with the latest technology for the upcoming academic years. In addition, the MoE has issued the Ministerial Resolution No. 194 of 2020 to implement the ICT subject in schools, aiming to improve the technological culture of the new generation and develop modern technological skills among all students.
Policies Plans and Strategies: The 2014-2030 Strategic Plan of Pre-University Education follows the recommendations established by the World Education Forum on the “Education for All” strategy (Dakar, 2000), which stated six main goals in order to improve the quality of education. The sixth goal of this strategy is to improve all educational aspects through several tracks, such as the “support of the use of technology in schools” (Fourth track). The objective of this track is to use multiple technological means in the educational process, such as the Internet, distance education, and e-learning. This is done through the use of many laboratories contain, such as computers, projectors, televisions, video recorders, satellite receivers; the integration of technology subjects, the production of advanced educational software etc. In addition to the 2014-2030 Strategic Plan of Pre-University Education, the government developed an education technology programme in 2016-17, which aimed to expand and maximize the ICT structure and application in pedagogical and administrative practices in all levels of the education system.
The Egyptian 2021 Voluntary National Review released by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development shows that the country aims to implement a comprehensive transformation plan called “Education 2.0”. This plan aims to improve the quality of education through many reforms, especially via “developing the schools’ digital infrastructure to introduce substantial use of technology in classrooms”.
The 2021 Egypt National Artificial Intelligence Strategy consists of four pillars that include Capacity Building to “Prepare the Egyptian population for the age of AI at all levels, from general awareness to school, university and equivalent education, to professional training for technical and non-technical disciplines."
Digital competency frameworks: In 2019, a new partnership between ICDL Arabia and the Egyptian Ministry of Education and Technical Education took place to allow teachers to become ICDL (International Computer Driving License) certified. This program covers information and communication technology (ICT), using the computer and managing files, word processing; using a database; spreadsheets, web browsing, presentations, and communication. According to the MoE, the ICDL is considered “the digital skills standard” for Egyptian teachers, and from 2019 onwards, anyone wanting to be employed in Egypt as a teacher must have an ‘ICDL Teachers’ certificate. However, for students, there is no specific Digital competency framework.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has started to adopt a number of measures to support the country’s plan for restricting the spread of the pandemic and continuing the digitization process and distance education. For instance, the 2020 MCIT Yearbook identifies some measures, which include free access to online learning materials and digital platforms.
For additional information on COVID-19, see Section 2.2.2. on Technology and learning environments (distance education).
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The Egyptian government has started the implementation of the 2018/2019 – 2021/2022 National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP), developed in compliance with the Arab Energy Efficiency Framework (AEEF) requirements and the Electricity Law No. 87 of 2015. One of the main objectives of this plan is to increase lighting efficiency in schools and educational and administrative buildings. This is done through the installation of PV power plants on the rooftop of school buildings, replacing regular light bulbs by LED light bulbs in classrooms, eliminating non-energy efficient devices, and developing school activities, competitions and contests, where students would be engaged in making some suggestions for saving energy inside school buildings. Furthermore, the Plan aims to encourage the School Buildings Authority to develop a guidebook for the improvement of energy efficiency at schools and to implement energy-efficient projects based on projects and plans advanced by the students.
The 2014-30 Strategic Plan for Pre-University Education also monitored the number of electricity-saving lamps in technical schools for 2016/17.
In 2017, the country initiated the El-Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant project in El-Dabaa city in the Matrouh Governorate, which aims to produce 4.8GW, providing electricity to at least 4 million homes.
Computers and devices: The Ministry of Education started the distribution of tablets in all schools after issuing the Circular letter no.14 dated 25/12/2018, which includes 17 regulations. It states that students are responsible for the tablets that they receive until the end of their high school diploma (Thanaweya amma), then the tablets are offered as a gift for them. If the student has lost his/her tablet, parents must purchase a new one from the school administration. Teachers and all the administrative staff are also responsible for the tablets they receive. The Circular letter also stipulates that an amount of 4500 Egyptian pounds ($US 238) should also be paid to the educational administration to buy a spare tablet. Students and teachers have the capacity to work on these devices in schools and from home, and the government is financially responsible for providing “one tablet per child and per teacher”.
Before 2018, according to the 2012-2017 Policies of the Communications and Information Technology Sector, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has launched an education development initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ministry of Higher Education (MHE) in order to increase the government’s demand for new tablet computers, especially in pre-university education.
Internet connectivity: According to the 2021 MCIT Yearbook, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) made an agreement with Telecom Egypt to connect school buildings with fiber optic technology to facilitate students’ access to online schooling and examinations. The implementation of the first phase of this plan began in August 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. In addition to that, the 2020 MCIT Yearbook states that the MCIT has started to adopt some measures after the outbreak of COVID-19 to provide students with internet access at home. One of these measures is to “increase the home internet download quota by 20%, for free, and assign intensive internet capacities, which contributes to facilitating the electronic examination system for all students (by tablets)”. Furthermore, MCIT provides school students with free access to the websites of the Ministry of Education, where learning materials and curricula are provided to students.
The government has taken initiatives to provide Internet to the marginalized population. For instance, in September 2022, the Ministry of Communications doubled the construction of mobile towers in Qena, which helped to provide high-speed Internet services to 58 million citizens in 4,500 villages and to expand Egypt's digital creativity centers in the governorates.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
According to the 2021 Voluntary National Review and the Education 2.0 plan, the Ministry of Education and Technical Education has been investing in digital transformation since 2016. This digitization process helped the government to provide distance learning during the pandemic that caused school closures in March 2020. As of September 2020, more than seven learning platforms were provided. The most known platform is the Egyptian Knowledge Bank (EKB) which provides educational, informational and scholarly resources from the most prominent international publishing houses in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MoETE). In March 2020, a distance learning digital library was drawn from the EKB for all educational levels to cope with COVID-19 school closures, which is part of the Education 2.0 plan. It aims to provide online access to all primary and preparatory learning materials as well as the required teaching materials. Furthermore, the 2021 Voluntary National Review mentions that the government also launched the Madrasatona (Our School) television channels in order to broadcast lessons for primary and preparatory stages, ensuring remote learning even in the absence of an internet connection.
The 2020 MCIT Yearbook states that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has started to adopt a number of measures to support the country’s plan for restricting the spread of the pandemic. These measures are: ““Granting free access to the websites of the Ministry of Education, where learning materials and curricula are provided to students” and “Providing free digital platforms to host learning materials, courses and lecturers for school and university students”. These measures aim to provide distance learning for students after school closures.
Following the Egyptian vision for sustainable development 2030, the Ministry of Education and Technical Education has announced that ICT will be taught for the academic year 2021-2022 as a basic compulsory subject for all students. According to the Ministerial Resolution No. 194 of 2020, ICT will not be taught for the first, second and third grades of primary school, but for the fourth grade of primary school, the subject of information and communication technology will be compulsory for all students within the new education system.
In April 2019, the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) launched a program entitled “Next Coders”, under the Next Technology Leaders (NTL) initiative. This three-month program targets only secondary-school first year students from governmental schools at the national level, and teaches the basics of programming “Learn to Code”. Additionally, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has held “The Beaver Egypt Challenge” in partnership with the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT). This program aims to encourage school students to study computer science and to promote informatics and computational thinking. Top participants of this challenge have the chance to compete in the Egyptian Olympiad in Informatics (EOI), which seeks to strengthen and build the digital capabilities of Egyptian school students. The 2021 MCIT Yearbook also states that the government had started the “IT Clubs in Community Development” project within the framework of the MCIT digital transformation strategy, which aims to eradicate digital illiteracy in society and cultivate the skills of students. The project provides beneficiaries with numerous training tracks such as Microsoft Office and other software.
In April 2022, both the MCIT and the MoE discussed the launch of a new initiative called "Digital Cubs of Egypt" that targets students in pre-university. It aims to equip youngsters with IT skills and to develop some leadership skills such as time management, team building, communication and presentation skills, etc.
In cooperation with “Erasmus+”, an EU program to support Education, the MCIT started to encourage all students to join STEM courses. Additionally, as part of the 2017 “ ProGirls” (Professional Orientation of Girls) initiative supervised by EconoWin (Economic Integration of Women in the MENA Region), many schools started to launch training programs to encourage girls to explore STEM subjects. This initiative aims to train more than 190 Egyptian students from 12 different states in Sohag, Damanhour, Alexandria and Cairo, where they get the chance to work with 90 female mentors and meet several supervisors from different national private companies. Likewise, in collaboration with Microsoft and the MCIT, Vodafone has launched in 2019 a number of initiatives and programs to support girls (14- 18 years old) enrolled in ICT fields. The objective of these initiatives is to encourage diversity in the country and bridge the gender-equality gap within the framework of the Egyptian vision for sustainable development 2030.
The Prime Minister's decision No. 2840 of 2007, issuing the executive regulations for Chapter VII of the Education Law, promulgated by Law No. 139 of 1981, added under Law No. 155 of 2007, states in article 13 that the MoE commits to creating a learning environment that motivates school employees (including teachers) to use technology in order to improve the productivity.
In 2018, the e-Learning Competence Center (ELCC) completed its preparation for the International Diploma for school teachers in STEM Education. The ELCC aims to develop an “e-STEM Diploma” to create a dual diploma (University-School) for the development of a new generation of STEM teachers in Egypt. This new generation of teachers should be capable of providing innovative and creative teaching in science, technology, math and engineering-based subjects to reduce the gap between the exciting methodologies in schools and those required in the future for the students.
The 2018 MCIT Yearbook states that the government implemented an initiative entitled “Improving Technical Skills of Teachers”, which took place during the inauguration of the annual “e-learning and Educational Technology” conference. It aimed to improve the technical skills of teachers working in the governmental sector, in order to help them produce an e-content that respects the international development standards and specifications. During 2017/2021, the initiative targeted the improvement of the technical skills of 500 teachers and faculty members. It worked on enhancing their technical competencies and improving their skills in the field of education technology.
In November 2018, e-Learning Competence Center (ELCC) and Egypt ICT Trust Fund organized a training course in Aswan with 46 teachers to develop e-content to enhance the educational process. These workshops on Educational Content Design Skills included training topics on how to develop the e-courses using the authoring tool “Articulate Storyline”.
As part of the 2016 National Program for ICT Accessibility in Education for Persons with Disabilities, the MCIT has provided training to 30,000 teachers on computer basics, specialized programs and AT. Moreover, teachers were trained on the Unified Sign language “digital dictionary” that was developed by the MCIT and accredited by the MoE. In 2021, the MCIT launched the second stage of this project and renewed the cooperation with the MoE for three years in order to provide training to 100,000 teachers. The main aim of this national program is to improve the technological skills of teachers to deal with students with disabilities.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The Education Law no. 155 of 2007 as well as the 2014-2030 Strategic Plan for Pre-University Education do not refer to cybersecurity, safety or data privacy. Similarly, most of the Data Protection Laws do not refer to the protection of school students and their privacy. For instance, the country has recently introduced the Data Protection Law no. 151 of 2020, which focuses on establishing the main standards and rules that safeguard the rights of Egyptian citizens regarding their data. This law does not refer to any rights that guarantee data privacy from the use of technology in education. Likewise, the 2018 Anti-Cyber and Information Technology Crimes Law no.175 aims only to regulate online activities and to complement the new media and press laws that penalize unlicensed online activity and content violations, such as fake news, without referring to the rights of school students regarding their data privacy.
The 2017-2021 National Cybersecurity Strategy consists of six Key Strategic Programs, including one that raises focus on the importance of cybersecurity to protect e-services from risks and challenges. This program aims to raise awareness of the most important cyber threats for different levels, starting from the leadership level to school students.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The Ministry of Education states that creating a safe and enjoyable learning environment for children is among it priorities, as the country is steadily moving towards a full transformation of its education system through Education 2.0. In September 2018, under the auspices of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), the country’s “first national campaign” calling to end peer-to-peer violence was launched in partnership with the Ministry of Education and in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This campaign aims to end bullying exercised by a child on another child or student in person or online. It encourages and urges children to speak up against any type of bullying (including cyberbullying) in both educational and non-educational settings and provides them with access to trained professionals through the national Child Helpline 16000. This service is available 24/7 and is also an active channel to report any severe case in which the safety of a child is at risk.
The government of Egypt has two main Ministries that are responsible for the integration of ICT in education: the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Ministry of Education and Technical Education. However, there is no dedicated division for ICT under these ministries. On the one hand, the MoE is the entity responsible for making the main decisions, laws, policies, plans, and programs concerning the implementation of technology in the educational system (schools, administration, etc.). On the other hand, the MCIT is the entity in charge of defining the main framework through which these policies and plans will be actively implemented.
The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) works on the development and implementation of the Egyptian Vision for sustainable development 2030. It is responsible for formulating and monitoring the implementation of the 2030 National Sustainable Development Strategy, which includes the use of technology in the educational sector (SDG 4).
The Ministry of Education has released a new set of COVID-19 precautionary measurements for the 2021/2022 academic year. These measures include the ban of mobile phones entirely during the school day – for both students and teachers.