1.) In Cairo, formal education is very important. There are twelve years of formal education in Egypt, and public schools are free, though under funded. Many families who can afford to send their children to private school. Toward the end of high school, children take an exam similar to the SAT required of students planning to go to college in the U.S. The results of that exam determine which college each student will attend and also which fields of study are open to that student. Top students can attend the American University in Cairo, which teaches its courses in English. Other universities in the Cairo area include Cairo University, with over 30,000 students, Ayn Shams University, and al-Azhar University, one of the oldest and most prestigious theological schools in the Islamic world. Many children do not complete school or go on to college and learn a trade or apprenticeship in business instead.
2.) The American University in Cairo, founded in 1919, is one of the most prestigious Egyptian Universities.
3.) Although students like these at the American University in Cairo learn in the classroom, a vast amount of education in Egypt comes from the home.
Education and most religious instruction comes from the family – this is where children learn about societal values. Sometimes children also attend classes after school or on Friday at the mosque, similar to Sunday school or Torah school. The family is very important in Egyptian society. Though modern families are adopting the idea of the “nuclear family” common in the west (parents and children), the traditional Egyptian family unit consists of parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and all sorts of people. Even though the modern family unit tends to be smaller, families usually live close together and visit each other often.
Unlike in the West, children usually live with their parents until they get married, even through college. It is very rare that children move out and establish their independence before they get married. Usually, this only happens if the child goes abroad to save money before getting married. Many young Egyptian men work for a few years in the rich countries of the Persian Gulf, where wages are much higher than they are in Egypt, and this allows them to have a better start when they return to Egypt and get married.