Education is free and compulsory
for children between the ages of 6 and 14. Graduates of the primary schools
may attend either a general intermediate school, which prepares for a
secondary education, or a technical intermediate school specializing in
industrial and agricultural subjects. The secondary school system is similarly
divided into general schools, with curricula designed to prepare students
for a university education, and technical schools. About 48 percent of the
adult population is literate.
Elementary and Secondary Schools
In the early 1990s more than
7 million children attended about 16,500 primary schools. In the same period,
secondary schools had a total enrollment of about 5.9 million, including
enrollment of about 1.1 million in vocational and teacher training schools.
Universities and Colleges
Egypt has 13 universities. Al Azhar University at Cairo, founded in AD 970 as a school of Islamic studies, enrolls about 90,000 students and is the oldest continually existing institution of higher learning in the world. Faculties of engineering, medicine, business administration, and agriculture were added in 1961, and women were first admitted in 1962. Ayn Shams University (1950) in Cairo has 100,000 students, and the University of Cairo (1908) has nearly 77,000 students. Other leading universities include the University of Alexandria (1942), the University of Asyout (1957), and the American University in Cairo (1919). Egypt also has many technical colleges and institutes of art and music.
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