Every fourth adult in Egypt lacks reading and
writing skills according to official information.
Nowadays, school is compulsory for nine years and most
children go at least the first six-year stage. In Cairo,
there is the large Islamic university al-Azhar, founded
Just over one child of five goes to preschool from
the age of four. The children start regular school at
the age of six. About three out of four continue with
the three-year continuation stage. Among those who end
prematurely there are especially girls in the
countryside. In parts of poor southern Egypt, only half
of the children attend school.
Offers a list of biggest cities in the state of Egypt, including the capital
city which hosts major colleges and universities.
Country facts of Egypt, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
The primary school should in principle be free of
charge, but during the first year of the 2000s, some
fees have been introduced. Many schools are poorly
maintained and there is a shortage of both teachers and
teaching materials. In many places, schools are forced
to teach in shifts, and there are up to 100 children on
one teacher. Largest is the teacher shortage in the
countryside. The teaching is so inadequate that over
half of the children are also reported to receive
private tuition outside the school, which poses a great
financial strain for many parents.
Most children attend state schools, but there are
also private alternatives and a growing number of
Adult education is extensive, but the proportion of
illiterate people is still high. At the same time, Egypt
has a high proportion of well-educated citizens,
compared to other Arab countries. However, many highly
educated people find it difficult to find jobs that
match their knowledge. There are a number of state and
numerous private universities besides al-Azhar, which is
considered the world's second oldest university after
Fès in Morocco. Nowadays, al-Azhar also has faculties
with secular subjects and also accepts female students.
At the same time, the university's religious
significance has increased (see Religion).
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
97.0 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
75.1 percent (2013)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
10.9 percent (2008)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
10.9 percent (2008)
Russian protest against Copter's leaders
The Russian Orthodox Church announces that it has cut ties with the head of
the Coptic Church in Egypt. The reason is that the Coptic pope has taken a stand
in a church dispute between Russia and Ukraine: Tawadros | II has recognized the
Church of Ukraine as independent. The Church in Moscow emphasizes that it is the
church leader, not the Coptic church as a community, the protest is directed at.
Sisi challenger released, after two years
Former Defense Secretary Sami Anan, who has been incarcerated for nearly two
years, is released. He was arrested when he declared that he intended to
challenge Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi by standing in the then presidential election
(see January 23, 2018). According to the official election
results, Sisi, who, according to repeated accusations from human rights
organizations, uses mass arrests and torture against opponents and silences mass
media, was re-elected with 97 percent of the vote.
Israeli gas to Egypt
Israel's Minister of Energy is giving gas signposts to Egypt from the Tamar
and Leviathan fields. So far, Israel has bought gas from Egypt, but the Sinai
lines have sometimes been sabotaged by jihadists . The Minister of Energy
describes the new cooperation as the most important since the two countries made
peace in the 1970s.
Regime critics convicted of tax violations
A businessman in the construction industry has tormented Egypt's rulers by
posting regime-critical videos on online forums, where they have been widely
circulated. Now a criminal court in Cairo states that author Mohamed Ali is
sentenced in his absence to five years in prison and fines for tax offenses. Ali
lives in self-elected exile, and has stated, among other things, that he has not
been paid for construction work commissioned by the regime. During the fall, his
videos helped to trigger a protest wave in the streets and squares (see
September 20). When the verdict against him fell did not appear.
More and more prosecution is security classified
President Sisi has set up a "parallel justice system" to strike at critics
and opponents, warns Amnesty. It consists of the Prosecutor's Office for
security cases, terrorist courts and police special forces. The number of cases
where prosecution has been brought by the special prosecutors has risen from 529
in 2013 to 1,739 last year, Amnesty writes in a report.
Death penalty for designated terrorist leader
Terrorized ex-officer Hisham Ashmawy is sentenced to death by hanging.
Ashmawy, also known by the name of Abu Omar al-Muhajir, has been described as
Egypt's most hunted man (see October 8 and November 17).
He first joined an armed group in Sinai, but must have left the group when the
pronounced support for Islamic State (IS) in 2014. Instead, he formed an
al-Qaeda- loyal group in Libya, where he was arrested in 2018 by warlord Khalifa
Haftars forces (Haftar, who is trying to take power in Libya, is supported by
the Egyptian regime).
Severe armed group punishment
A military court sentenced a Libyan man to death and and 32 people to life
imprisonment for incidents in October 2017 when police stormed an arrest for an
armed group in the desert southwest of Cairo. In the aftermath, it was stated
that 16 police officers had been put to death and 15 detainees had either died
or injured. The group's members are referred to as terrorists and are held
responsible for attacks, including against the army. In 2018, a few months after
the council, the state launched an intensive hunt for jihadist groups both in
Sinai and in desert areas in the southwest.
Prices of basic goods are lowered
Prices of staple goods such as cooking oil, sugar, rice and flour will be
lowered on December 1, a government spokesman announced. The message follows a
decision by the president in October that 1.8 million Egyptians should once
again be granted subsidized goods. The government has also lowered the gasoline
price slightly, following several price increases that have been implemented to
satisfy the state's international lenders. Earlier in the autumn, there were a
number of protests against government policy (see September 2019).
The protests were unusual as demonstrations are surrounded by bans and the
regime usually brings in the hard gloves against those who dare to make demands.
Egypt rejects UN criticism
UN experts calling for extra-judicial executions criticize Egyptian
authorities for the conditions that former President Muhammad Mursi was
subjected to for several years in prison. Mursi passed away this summer (see
June 17). According to UN Reporter Agnès Callamard and other
experts, the treatment that took place in the prison, including long-term
isolation and inadequate care for diabetes and high blood pressure, can almost
be considered a state-sanctioned murder. Egypt rejects the criticism.
Carrot from the president: privatizations
When President Sisi inaugurates two chemical plants outside Cairo that are
part of the military's large business empire, which is notorious for giving
citizens minimal transparency, he understands that it may be relevant to list
some army-owned companies. Other state-owned companies may also be privatized in
whole or in part, says the president, whose comments are broadcast on TV. He
claims that the private sector has not been disadvantaged by the army's heavy
role in the economy. Large state buildings are among those increasingly
questioned by regime critics who consider them boastful projects and waste.
Already in 2018, the government talked about privatizing more than 20
state-owned companies, but the privatizations have not been implemented.
UN criticism of the regime
The UN strongly criticizes Egypt's ruling for the crackdown on democracy
activists. Among the recently imprisoned are well-known people as the founders
of a youth movement that had a major impact during the Arab Spring of 2011:
blogger Esraa Abdel Fattah and journalist Alaa Abdel Fattah. The journalist and
his lawyer are accused of belonging and supporting a terrorist group. The UN
calls on Egypt to respect freedom of expression and opinion, and also calls for
an investigation into allegations that the arrested have been subjected to
Wave of arrest
Human rights organizations say that around 2,000 people have been arrested in
recent days, including a former leader of the Liberal Party al- Dustur , a trade
union veteran and a couple of established political scientists who dared to
criticize President Sisi . Among those who have tried to get the protests in
motion, there is a businessman in exile, who criticizes the president through
notable videos on the internet. The regime has met with police action, but also
bused Sisian supporters to support the president. Human Rights Watch urges
Western countries to freeze their military support for Egypt until the regime's
Protests against the President
Protesters gather in Cairo, Suez and other cities, among others, to demand
the departure of the president. Such protests are unusual, and prohibited by law
since 2013, but clashes between protesters and police take place not only on the
Friday when the demonstrations begin, but also the day after. Two days later,
human rights organizations state that 365 people have been arrested.
Counter-terrorism strike in Sinai
Eleven armed men have been killed in gunfire with security forces in northern
Sinai, the Ministry of the Interior said. Efforts against terrorist-designated
groups in Sinai have been going on for a year and a half. According to a
compilation based on statements from the defense force, about 650 suspected
terrorists and 45 soldiers have been killed in the meantime. There are no
independent sources, nor any sure information on how many police officers have
Purpose of terror behind crash with explosive
A car that is speeding towards oncoming traffic outside a cancer hospital in
Cairo collides with three other cars. Heavy explosions are triggered, and
authorities later state that the car was loaded with explosives that would be
used for terrorist purposes. About 20 people lose their lives, others are
severely injured. Nearby buildings are evacuated and approximately 80 patients
must be relocated to other hospitals. Police suspect a militant group called
Hasm (Harakat Sawa'd Misr) and three days later report that 17 members of Hasm
were shot dead in operations in Cairo and al-Fayyum. The group is believed to
sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood and has taken on several acts since 2016.
More Egyptians below poverty line
Nearly one-third of Egyptians (32.5 percent) live below the poverty line.
This is a sharp increase compared to 2015, writes the newspaper al-Ahram, which
is leaning towards official statistics. The poverty line is used to measure that
you have no more than the equivalent of $ 1.4 a day to live on (it equals just
over SEK 13). From 2015 to 2017–2018, the number of people with lower income
increased by 27.8 percent.
Loan packages from the IMF are completed
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) provides a clear sign for the payment
of $ 2 billion to Egypt. This is the final step in a three-year loan program. A
total of $ 12 billion in loans has been disbursed in accordance with an
agreement from 2016. In order to receive the loans, the Egyptian government has
committed itself to reducing government spending in the form of subsidies on
important goods and services. Electricity prices were raised most recently in
May and the price of fuel was increased in July.
Mild teams get criticism
Parliament adopts amendments to a law that, according to individual
organizations (NGOs), circumscribes their activities; Among other things, the
law limits associations' ability to receive money without the government's
approval. However, ten Egyptian organizations warn that the law will remain
strict, even if some harsh regulations are mitigated. It includes, among other
things, diffuse wording about what should be considered prohibited. As the law
is changed, imprisonment is abolished for those who violate it, but very high
fines can be imposed.
Palestinian activist arrested in Cairo
Egyptian authorities seize the son of a prominent Palestinian politician,
Nabil Shaath, who was one of the negotiators behind the 1990 Oslo agreement
between the PLO and Israel. Shaath's French daughter-in-law is deported to
France. Ramy Shaath has been living in Cairo since the 1970s, has Egyptian
citizenship and leads an organization that advocates boycotting Israel.
According to the family, which first released the arrest in mid-August after
unsuccessful attempts to get him released, authorities have linked the capture
of Shaath to efforts against the Muslim Brotherhood (see June
25.) In April 2020, Ramy Shaath is placed on a list of Egyptian people the state
designates as terrorists.
Raids, coup charges and arrests
The raids are conducted on 19 companies in major cities accused of links to
the Muslim Brotherhood. Large sums of money are seized and the authorities claim
that the companies have been used to finance disruptive activities. At least
eight people have been arrested, including corporate leaders, journalists and
Zyad el-Elaimy, former Socialist MP who also participated in the Arab Spring
2011 protests against the then dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Religion on retreat in North Africa
About a tenth of Egyptians are not believers, according to a recent poll in
which more and more Arabs describe themselves as non-religious. The interview
survey was conducted for the BBC 2018–2019 by the research network Arab
Barometer, which is based at the University of Princeton. More than 25,000
interviewees in ten countries and in the Palestinian territories were asked. On
average, the share of non-religious since 2013 has increased from 8 to 13
percent. It is mainly in Tunisia and Libya that people respond that they are not
believers, but religious beliefs have weakened in all Arab countries of the
Imprisoned president dies quickly
17th of June
Former President Muhammad Mursi collapses in connection with a trial and is
pronounced dead in hospital. Islamist Mursi became Egypt's first elected
president in 2012, but in 2013 he was dismissed by the military, among other
things, for having destroyed the country's economy. Since then, Mursi has been
imprisoned, isolated for a long time, and sentenced to a variety of charges,
even to the death penalty. Human rights organizations have criticized how he was
treated and are now demanding an independent investigation into the death,
which, according to authorities, was due to a heart attack.
Long sentences at mass trial
A military court sentenced nearly 300 people to prison sentences. Security
sources claim that the defendants have been included in 22 terror cells. 32
people are sentenced to life, which in practice corresponds to 25 years in
Egypt. Among those convicted are some who are accused of trying to attack
President Sisi in 2014. Others are alleged to have been involved in the murders
of three judges in North Sinai in 2015.
Sisi strengthens its grip on the judiciary
Approves legislative changes that give President Sisi greater power over the
judiciary; He is given the power to appoint a prosecutor and the chairman of the
court in, among other things, the Constitutional Court. The President shall
choose from candidates nominated by the Supreme Judicial Council and the courts.
In the past, the institutions chose their bosses themselves, although the
president would formally approve the appointments. During the summer, Sisi makes
several appointments in accordance with the new rules.
Severe abuses in North Sinai
Both government forces and militant groups in Sinai are guilty of human
rights violations, according to Human Rights Watch . North Sinai has been
canceled by the government as a military area, making it difficult to report
independently, but HRW has collected data on murders, kidnappings and torture.
Young people, some as young as twelve, have been arrested and kept locked up in
secret prisons for up to a month.
Deep sea cable to Europe is planned
Egypt has signed an agreement with a Cyprus-based company to build an
underwater cable for electricity export to Europe, the company says. The largest
depth at which the cable is to be laid is 3,000 meters and the project is valued
at two billion euros. During the past year, natural gas has begun to be
extracted from four new Egyptian fields and production already covers the
domestic need. The goal is to export both liquefied natural gas and electricity.
Egypt hopes that natural gas from Cyprus and Israel will pass on the energy
plants being built along Egypt's coast and make them more profitable (see also
September 19, 2018).
Death penalty for acts against churches
Two people are sentenced to death for an attack on a church in Cairo 2017
(see April 9, 2017 and May 21, 2017). Two
others are sentenced to life. The Jihadi movement IS took on the deed, which
required ten lives.
The fraternity is squeezed from several directions
Several wealthy businessmen with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood are
sentenced to life imprisonment on terror charges. Among those convicted are
Hassan Malek, who built a business empire around electronics and furniture, and
the owner of a supermarket chain. From the US comes the message that the White
House is planning to make the Egyptian president want and terror class the
Muslim Brotherhood. US Middle East experts and Pentagon defense headquarters are
reported to be against President Trump's plans.
Death penalty for murder of bishop
A court in Damanhur confirms that two former monks in the Coptic church have
been sentenced to death for murdering a bishop. The bishop was found dead in
July in one of the old monasteries located in the desert northwest of Cairo (see
August 11, 2018). The death sentences fell in February and have
subsequently been examined by the Egyptian Grand Duke, which is a rule when the
death penalty is sentenced, but they can still be appealed. After the murder,
Coptic church leader Tawadros decided among other things that the monasteries
would not receive new novices in a year.
Many abstained from increasing the president's power
President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi has, as planned, completely extended his
mandate to 2024 and can then stand for a new six-year term. According to the
electoral authority, nearly 89 percent of those who went to the polls approved
the constitutional changes, which also gives the military more power. But only
44 percent of those entitled to vote are said to have participated in the
Pasta package for the voter
The referendum on amendments to the constitution ends. President Sisi's
mandate is extended according to the proposals, while at the same time expanding
his own and the military's power. At the polling stations, reporters see
supporters of Sisi distributing boxes of basic foods such as rice, pasta and
cooking oil to those who vote. No campaigns, on the other hand, have not been
given much room to convey their message.
Sisi one step closer to extended power
Parliament voted in favor of constitutional amendments that would allow the
President to continue to govern until 2030 (see February 14).
The changes also give the president more power over the judiciary and strengthen
the military's influence - which is already large and has grown under President
Sisi's rule. A referendum on constitutional amendments will be held April 20-22.
Monitoring after prison for protest leaders
The blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah is free after five years in prison
- but it is reported that he will be under surveillance for the next five years.
He emerged as a protest leader during the Arab Spring of 2011 when Hosni Mubarak
was forced out of power by extensive demonstrations. In 2013, he was arrested
after protesting against the generals who ruled Egypt after Mubarak.
Protest photographer gets release
4th of March
An award-winning photojournalist known as Shawkan is released from prison
after six years. The photographer, named Mahmud Abu Zayd, was arrested in 2013
when he documented bloody clashes between security forces and supporters of
deposed Islamist President Muhammad Mursi (see August 2013 and
July 16, 2018). Shawkan will still be supervised for five
years, with daytime release and overnight stay with the police, but he says he
will resume his work.
Religious leaders pay homage to monogamy
Ahmad al-Tayyib, the foremost imam at the Sunni Muslim world's leading
educational institution al-Azhar in Cairo, winds up in a blast after a statement
about polygamy. He points out that the husband's right to have up to four wives
at the same time can cause injustice to women and children. The Imam does not
ask for a ban on polygamy, but he emphasizes monogamy as the ideal and relies on
Koranord that several wives require complete equal treatment. The argument that
no human being can be so fair is common when polygamy is discussed in the Muslim
world, but it is only in a few countries that authorities explicitly prohibit
Train tragedy triggers safety debate
A locomotive crashes into a block at Cairo's central station. A fuel tank
explodes, fire breaks out and over 20 people lose their lives. It is unclear why
the tragedy is occurring, but it sheds light on the safety situation in the
railways, especially the maintenance of railways and trains. Transport Minister
Hisham Arafat resigns. When replaced, President Sisi follows his habit of
appointing a general, in this case a former chief of the country's engineering
troops who has participated in major state infrastructure projects.
Summit under troublesome circumstances
At the Sharm el-Sheikh resort, President Sisi hosts a summit between Arab
leaders and heads of state and government from EU countries. Since Sisi, without
obedience to demands for democracy, is pushing for legislative changes that
anchor him in power (see February 14), the meeting is a bit
embarrassing for EU leaders. But Sisi points out that EU countries and Arab
states have common interests, among other things, regarding migrant flows and
the fight against terrorism. In a statement when the two-day meeting ends,
cooperation is emphasized.
Nine hung for lawyer murder
Nine men are executed by hanging. They have been convicted of the murder of
state prosecutor Hisham Barakat 2015, which was carried out with a car bomb.
According to Amnesty International , the men did not receive a fair trial, and
they accused the authorities themselves of pushing recognition through torture.
So far this year, 15 death sentences have been enforced (see February 13).
Turkish President Erdoğan describes in the TV executions as unacceptable. Ever
since Islamist President Muhammad Mursi was forced out of power in 2013, Erdoğan
belongs to the Sisir regime's sharpest critics. Erdoğan, who himself holds
thousands of dissenters imprisoned, urges Egypt to release members of the Muslim
A change of constitution may extend Sisi's rule
Approves, in principle, that the constitution is amended so that Abd
al-Fattah al-Sisi can remain in the post of president after 2022, when his
second term expires; His supporters also want the term of office to be extended
to six years. The proposals must be considered by the Law Committee before
Parliament can make a decisive vote, within 60 days. A few parliamentarians and
a number of human rights organizations have objected to the amendments, which,
according to them, open up for the president to remain alive.
Close between executions
Human rights organizations are raising alarms that Egypt is executing more
death sentences than before. According to Amnesty International , six executions
have been carried out over the past two weeks. MR activists point out that the
trials against murder and terrorists - which led to many death sentences - show
New health insurance should provide the poorest care
Finance Minister Mohamed Maait promises that Egypt's poorest will receive
health care costs paid through a new health insurance system, which will be
expanded until 2033. The system will be financed through several sources: taxes,
patient fees, employer contributions, other fees and donations. Tobacco and
vehicle taxes may be used, as well as highway tariffs.
Famous tomb chamber cared for
Tourists, moisture and dust. The threats are many against the tombs of
Pharaonic times in Luxor. Preservation work has now been completed in the most
famous of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the one belonging to Pharaoh
Tutankhamon. The work has been carried out in collaboration with American
archaeologists and microbiologists, who have in particular examined how much
damage fungal infestation has caused. Exhaling air from large crowds of visitors
can ruin murals in the underground burial chambers.
The Monetary Fund praises reforms
It has been eight years since the start of the campaign against Hosni
Mubarak, which forced the president out of power. The IMF is now providing a
two-billion dollar payout for Egypt. The loan package settlement was concluded
in 2016, and with this payment the state will have lifted 10 of the promised $
12 billion. The reforms Egypt's current government has implemented are praised
by the IMF, which emphasizes that growth has accelerated and that unemployment
is at its lowest level since 2011.
Regional gas forum is formed
Seven countries in the eastern Mediterranean agree to establish regional
cooperation on gas extraction, with the Cairo office. Those behind the Eastern
Mediterranean gas forum, which will be the organization's name, are Egypt,
Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Natural gas
has been found in several places in the eastern Mediterranean in recent years
and some countries already have bilateral extraction agreements (see
September 19, 2018).
15 years for protest leaders from the Arab Spring
Ahmed Douma, a democracy activist and co-founder of the April 6 movement, is
sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined. A sentence of 25 years in prison has
been reduced since he was granted a new trial. This judgment can also be
appealed. Douma was the leader in 2011 during the Arab Spring protests against
then-President Mubarak. Eight years later, the current state leadership is
clearly undemocratic. Several activists from 2011 are imprisoned, as is the
leadership of the Islamic Movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. On the other hand,
people connected to Mubarak, who were forced out of power, have largely been
acquitted of criminal charges.
Symbolic inauguration of new shrines
In connection with the Coptic Christmas celebration, a newly built cathedral
with space for just over 8,000 visitors is opened. President Abd al-Fattah
al-Sisi attends the inauguration. The day before, a police officer lost his life
when a bomb intended for copter was rendered harmless. Sisi also inaugurates the
great al-Fattah al-Alim mosque. Both buildings are part of the efforts to move a
new administrative capital to Madinat Nasr ("Segerstaden") a few miles east of