Basic Education

The basic education consists of pre-primary, primary and preparatory levels of education. In Egypt, the Ministry of Education coordinates the preschool education. In 1999-2000 the total enrollment rate of pre-primary students was 16 percent and that increased to 24 percent in 2009. Irrespective of private or state run, all preschool institutions come under Ministry of Education. It is the Ministry's duty to select and distribute textbooks. According to the Ministry's guidelines, the maximum size of a preschool should not exceed more than 45 students . Ministry of Education is also getting support from the international agencies, such as the World Bank to enhance the early childhood education system by increasing access to schools, improving quality of education and building capacity of teachers. At the primary level students could attend private, religious or government schools. Currently, there are 7.8 percent of students enrolled at primary level in private schools as of 2007. The total enrollment of students at primary level is 105 percent in 2007. The examinations at grade 3 are on district (edara) level. Though there is a push for Egyptian children to attend primary school, educators are often ill-equipped to teach them. As of 1995, a mere 7 percent of primary school teachers in Egypt had received a university degree; the remaining 93 percent only had nine years of formal education.

The second tier of basic compulsory education is the preparatory stage or lower secondary which is three years long. Completion of this tier grants students the Basic Education Completion Certificate. The importance of completion of this level of education is to safeguard students against illiteracy as early drop outs at this stage easily recede into illiteracy and eventually poverty.