By the Gazette Editorial Board
The establishment of the first school for applied technology in Egypt that follows international quality specifications is good news that highlights a genuine state desire to promote poly-technical education.
The school, which will start admitting students who have finished their preparatory education at the start of this academic year, is different from other schools of the kind in that it is being established through the joint effort of the Ministry of Education and the private sector. The school is part of the ministry’s initiative “Egypt’s Makers” which is aimed at promoting the skills of workers to meet the requirements of the labour market.
The new school is being set up in co-operation with the Al-Arabi Group, one of the leading local manufacturers of electrical appliances, Japan and the Educational Development Fund. Having these three parties involved in the project is tantamount to a guarantee of efficiency, seriousness and achieving targets.
The new school is good news because it has responded to a long-standing call for the private sector to be brought into the technical training domain so as to establish a link between education and market representatives who have the ways and means to hone the students skills on a sound basis. The students will get an opportunity to receive practical training at the industrial facilities of Al-Arabi. And so, it will not be difficult for these young people to find rewarding jobs later on. In fact, Al-Arabi has committed itself to hiring graduates who have distinguished themselves at the applied technology school, in its factories and workshops.
It is to be hoped that several other local manufacturers will set up technical schools to provide the market with a highly competitive labour force. In recent years, manufacturers have been complaining of the scarcity of qualified workers, while technical school graduates have been having problems finding suitable jobs. And so, co-operation with the private sector in building schools that offer good vocational training would surely achieve the required balance.
The Ministry of Education seems set to give impetus to poly-technical education which should be a basic requirement for a country aiming at industrial development and increasing exports.
The fact is that most of the available government-run poly-technical schools have a poor educational standard and give students graduation certificates of no real use. However, the new school, which should be the nucleus for a series of similar schools, will benefit from Japanese expertise in applied technology.
Another positive element about the new technological school is that it will be set up in Menufia in the Nile Delta, not in Cairo. This shows an emerging state interest in catering to the needs of the governorates, which are mostly deprived of quality services and have thus become repellent to young people.
The applied technology school is a step towards attracting young people to taking up decent and rewarding vocational jobs which used to be looked down upon.