Could not download file: This paper is available to authorised users only.


F. Abdel Rahman Qadir

American University in Cairo (EGYPT)
The importance of an education is paramount in Egypt, an integral and fundamental element of society, so much so that a basic education has been a right for every citizen since the constitution of 1923 before any international treaties documented it as a human right. Education in Egypt, as with other states, seeks to create a system that empowers its citizens and meets the needs of the country in doing so. However, there are a multitude of factors that can and do enhance or detract from the ability of a state to adequately and effectively educate its population. With a rapidly increasing population, it is becoming ever more important and vital for the government of Egypt to deal with the expanding costs of providing an adequate and relevant education for its citizens.
The researcher has focused upon the primary level of education because it is widely perceived to be an essential and integral phase in the development of a child, and without the proper foundations being established at this stage, the child will undoubtedly suffer greatly in their academic and developmental future. Secondly, the right to education as stipulated in international legal treaties stresses the importance of this right as being vital to realizing other rights. There is a nexus between other rights encapsulated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), most of which are directly connected to this primary right.
This research argues that the current structure and functionality of the Egyptian primary education system fails to completely comply with international legal human rights standards of education. While Egypt adheres to and accepts that education is a right, there are a number of flaws and defects that have corrosive effects on the provision of the right to quality education to all Egyptian children. The presence of these defects distracts from critical issues surrounding the actual right to education. In order to meet all the standards of the right, a comprehensive review and reform of sectors in the country should be undertaken to ensure that enjoyment of a quality and relevant education is extended to all Egyptian children.
Part I provides an introductory assessment of the topic of the Egyptian education system and its importance in relation to the right to education. Part II explores the foundations of the right to education in the context of international human right law, with a specific emphasis on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). This section also introduces the international standards for education (4-A Schematic) and human rights indicators. Part III analyzes the primary education system in Egypt, which includes a brief historical overview of the roots of the modern system, a description of the structure of the current system, and a discussion of a number of pertinent issues facing the Ministry of Education. Part VI measures and analyzes Egyptian compliance with the international standards in direct correlation to the human rights indicators that comprise the 4-A Schematic. Finally, Part V concludes with an assessment as to whether or not the Egyptian primary education system adheres to the international legal requirements pertaining to the right to education.