In recent years, the various stakeholders in Egypt have made efforts to come to a consensus for the implementation of a clear framework for qualifications: one that is based on quality criteria for the recognition of learning and that takes into account the outcomes acquired in non-formal and informal employment and societal contexts.
Challenges and opportunities
Fostering a system for recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of non-formal and informal learning is important for Egypt given that:
- the unemployment rate has increased from 9 per cent in 2010 to 13.2 per cent in 2013 since the revolution of 2011, with 3.6 million people out of the population’s 86 million currently unemployed. Many people are at risk of unemployment: the rate of unemployment among females is more than double the rate of unemployment along males. Of women, 30 per cent with a general upper-secondary education are unemployed as well as 37 per cent with upper-secondary VET and 25 per cent of female university graduates (UNESCO, ETF and Cedefop, 2015).
- Overseas workers make up 4.4 per cent of the Egyptian population and this percentage is increasing steadily. There is thus a need to foster mobility by providing individuals with proof of their acquired skills and competences.
- Egypt has a young population, with 32 per cent of the population aged under 15 years. This means that there is huge pressure on education and the labour market to be accessible. In fact, 800,000 new jobs need to be created annually (UNESCO,ETF and CEDEFOP, 2015).
RVA could serve as an important tool to foster mobility and to integrate unemployed or young individuals into education or the labour market.
National standards, policy and framework activity
From 2005 until 2008, a national task force prepared a concept paper for an Egyptian National Qualification Framework. The proposed NQF comprises eight levels and identifies two main objectives: to foster lifelong learning (LLL) and to establish progression pathways, allowing for increased mobility, both vertically (from one level to another) and cross-border, across education systems and labour markets. Another key aim is to facilitate the recognition of prior learning by providing accreditation rules including reference standards for qualification levels based on learning outcomes.
In 2010, the Egyptian prime minister endorsed the concept paper and gave the National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Education (NAQAAE) the mandate to develop action plans for its implementation.
One ETF initiative introduced in 2010 at a regional level, and in which Egypt participated, aimed at increasing transparency and shared understanding of qualifications in seven Euro-Mediterranean countries by producing a set of common standards for occupations in the tourism and construction sectors.
While a framework has been created, the introduction of a law will make it possible to earmark the necessary budgets to implement a more output-based educational system in relation to occupational standards and requirements of the labour market, and to establish implementing rules for accrediting prior learning in relation to NQF standards (UNESCO, ETF and Cedefop, 2015).
At the policy level, the Ministry of Manpower and Migration has led the process of developing an Egyptian NQF, whereas the NAQAAE has been the main body in charge of the process at the implementation level.
In 2014, a national technical and vocational education and training (TVET) authority was appointed by the prime minister comprising two executive committees – one for TVET and another for Vocational Education and Training (VET). These two committees are coordinated by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Manpower respectively. The former is responsible for initial vocation and training (IVET) and the latter for continuing training (CVET). Moreover, twenty-seven regional committees were established to secure a clear link between the VET system and local needs.
UIL; European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Greece); European Training Foundation (Italy). 2015. Global inventory of regional and national qualifications frameworks. V. II: national and regional cases. Hamburg, UIL.
University of Egypt