In an attempt to link study programmes in technical education institutions with the labour market, Egypt has created a new accrediting body that it says could help more than two million students in technical schools and institutes across the country find jobs.
Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, signed a law creating the National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation (ETQAAN) a month ago. The authority will oversee Egypt’s technical and vocational education and training system and seek to ensure that its institutions meet international accreditation standards and fit labour market needs.
Mohamed Megahed, deputy minister of education and technical education, will supervise the preparation of the authority’s regulations, a process that he expects will take no more than six months. The regulations will have to be approved by the Council of Ministers before the authority begins work.
In an interview with Al-Fanar Media, Megahed said the authority would operate as an independent entity, accrediting technical education institutions and programmes in accordance with national and international standards, and ensuring that their curricula meet labour market needs. The authority aims to accredit more than 1,300 technical schools by 2030, he added.
The decision to establish the authority was made during the World Youth Forum in Egypt in 2018, when President El-Sisi spoke about the need for an accreditation body for technical schools and universities.
“This will enhance their graduates’ employability in the private sector, which prefers to hire graduates from accredited institutions that meet international standards for competency-based curricula.”Mohamed Megahed, deputy minister of education and technical education
Obtaining the authority’s accreditation will help technical schools and Egypt’s new technological universities by requiring them to constantly monitor their progress against key performance indicators, Megahed said.
“This will enhance their graduates’ employability in the private sector, which prefers to hire graduates from accredited institutions that meet international standards for competency-based curricula,” Megahed said.
Article 4 of the law that established the authority (Law No. 160 of 2022) says the authority must verify that vocational and technical education and training programmes meet the professional standards issued by the legally established business organisations, as well as sectoral federations and skills councils, in which academics and technical experts have participated.
The same article also stipulates that study programmes must have identified the needs of the labour market for each specialisation offered, what competencies are essential for each, the availability of equipment and training laboratories to deliver the programme, the availability of trainers and administrators, and the evaluation methods to be used in the programme.
Article 5 of the law sets indicators to measure the quality of the vocational and technical education and training system. The authority will review these indicators periodically to ensure their compatibility with international standards.
‘A Good Attempt’
Mohamed Abdel Shafouk, an engineer and director of the Technical Office at the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Industrial Training Council, spoke to Al-Fanar Media about technical schools in the country’s private sector.
What distinguishes these schools, he said, is that they provide students with hands-on training four days a week in factories, with only two days of theoretical study in classrooms.
Students receive monthly bonuses while in school, as well as a chance of getting a place in one of Egypt’s recently established technological universities. After graduation, he said, students get a suitable job opportunity.
The new quality assurance and accreditation body is “a good attempt to link study with the skills required by the labour market, without imposing theoretical curricula that are far from the skills institutions are looking for in graduates.”Mohamed Abdel Shafouk, director of the technical office, Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry Training Council
Abdel Shafouk believes the creation of the new quality assurance and accreditation body is “a good attempt to link study with the skills required by the labour market, without imposing theoretical curricula that are far from the skills institutions are looking for in graduates.”
He warned, however, that the application of professional standards in all technical schools would take time, as had happened in many attempts with past technical education programmes. “All of those were serious attempts to enhance technical education,” he said.
He added: “We need direct coordination with all technical schools to obtain accreditation from ETQAAN as a condition for students to work in the labour market.”
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