Egypt

Qualifications Profile of the Population and Workforce

Highest level of education achieved

In 2014, 8.9% of males between 15 and 49 years in Egypt had no formal education, compared to 19.6% of females in the same age group. Only 4.5% of males and 3.7% of females had obtained as their highest qualification a primary education. Those whose highest level of education was a secondary education were in the majority: 36.5% of males and 32.2% of females. Furthermore, just 18.8% of males and 16.8% of females had attained post-secondary education. (See table 4.1).[1]

Table 4.1: Highest level of education attained for population 15–49 years (2014)

Educational level Male Female Both
No education 8.9 19.6 14.1
Primary incomplete 7.3 5.6 6.5
Primary complete 4.5 3.7 4.1
Secondary incomplete 24.1 22.2 23.2
Secondary complete 36.5 32.2 34.4
Post-secondary 18.8 16.8 17.8

Source: Education Policy and Data Center, 2014[2]

Figure 4.1
Source: Education Policy and Data Center, 2014[3]
Figure 4.1: Highest level of education attained for population 15–49 years (2014)

The share of the urban population with no formal education (17.6%) was significantly higher than among their urban counterparts (8.2%) in 2014. Where one in ten urban women had no formal education, among rural women it was one in four. The percentage of urban men and women who had obtained a post-secondary education was more than double the share of their rural counterparts who had obtained this level of education.[4]

Table 4.2: Highest level of education attained for population 15–49 years by sex and area (2014)

Educational level Urban Rural
Male Female Both Male Female Both
No education 6.0 10.3 8.2 10.5 25.1 17.6
Primary incomplete 5.6 4.1 4.8 8.3 6.5 7.4
Primary complete 4.6 3.7 4.1 4.5 3.6 4.1
Secondary incomplete 22.1 21.6 21.8 25.2 22.6 24.0
Secondary complete 33.8 33.4 33.6 38.0 31.4 34.8
Post-secondary  27.9 26.9 27.4 13.4 10.7 12.1

Source: Education Policy and Data Center, 2014[5]

Figure 4.2
Source: Education Policy and Data Center, 2014[6]
Figure 4.2: Highest level of education attained for population 15–49 years by sex and area (2014)

In 2014, the average number of years of schooling completed in Egypt was 9.6 for males and 8.5 for females. Urban males and females had a substantially higher average than their counterparts from rural areas. On average urban girls (10.2) get almost three years more schooling than rural girls (7.5).[7]

Table 4.3: Median years of schooling, 15–49 years (2014)

Gender Area Median years of schooling 
Males Total 9.6
Urban 10.6
Rural 9.1
Females Total 8.5
Urban 10.2
Rural 7.5

Source: Education Policy and Data Center, 2014[8]

Literacy rates

Egypt’s literacy rate, the share of the population that can both read and write, with understanding, a short simple statement on everyday life, among adults over 15 increased from 72% in 2010 to 75.8% in 2015. The male literacy rate in 2015 (83.6%) was significantly higher than the female rate (68.1%) in the same year. However, between 2010 and 2015, the female literacy rate improved at a faster rate (63.5% to 68.1%), compared to the male rate (80.3% to 83.6%).[9] (See figure 4.3 below.)

Figure 4.3
Source: World Bank, 2016[10]
Figure 4.3: Adult literacy rates (2010 and 2015)

The literacy rate among the youth (15–24 years old) was 87.5% in 2010, but had increased to 93.3% by 2015. In 2015, a higher percentage of males (94.5%) than females (92.1%) in this age group were literate, but the female literacy rate showed a greater improvement, increasing from 84.3% in 2010 to 92.1% in 2015 compared to the male rate, which increased from 90.6% to 94.5% over the same period.[11] The higher youth literacy rate suggests that school attendance has increased, and may also be an indication that the Egypt’s education system has improved.

Figure 4.4
Source: World Bank, 2016[12]
Figure 4.4: Youth literacy rates (2010 and 2015)

The adult literacy rate of 75.8% for Egypt in 2015 was lower than Algeria’s (79.6%) and South Africa’s (94.6%) in 2015, the Middle East and North African average (80.8%) and the world average (85.3%) in 2014, but higher than Morocco’s (71.7%) and Nigeria’s (59.6%) in 2015 and the sub-Saharan African average (60.9%) in 2014.[13]

The youth literacy rate in Egypt was 93.3% in 2015, which was lower than Algeria’s (96.8%), Morocco’s (95.1%) and South Africa’s (99%) in 2015, but higher than Nigeria’s (72.8%) in 2015, the Middle East and North African (92.7%), sub-Saharan African (71.4%) and the world average (90.6%) in 2014.[14]

Table 4.4: Regional comparison: Adult (15 and older) and youth (aged 15–24) literacy rates

Country/Region Adult literacy rate Youth literacy rate Note 
Algeria 79.6 96.8 *
Egypt  75.8  93.3  *
Morocco 71.7 95.1 *
Nigeria 59.6 72.8 *
South Africa 94.6 99 *
Middle East and North Africa 80.8 92.7 ^
Sub-Saharan Africa 60.9 71.4 ^
World 85.3 90.6 ^

Source: World Bank, 2016[15]
Notes: ^2014| *2015

  • Country Profile
  • Introduction
  • Broad Economic Indicators
  • Currency and Exchange Rate
  • Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business
  • Foreign Investment and Largest Companies
  • Foreign Aid
  • Country Strategic Framework
  • Summary of Economic Conditions
  • Implications, Challenges and Recommendations
  • Population
  • Living Standards and Poverty Levels
  • Healthcare
  • Implications, Challenges and Recommendations
  • Qualifications Profile of the Population and Workforce
  • Levels of Schooling and Basic Education
  • Technical and Vocational Education and Training
  • Tertiary Education
  • Innovation in Egypt
  • Implications, Challenges and Recommendations
  • Labour Force
  • Employment by Sector
  • Employment by Skill Level
  • Employment by Occupation
  • Labour Productivity
  • Unemployment and Job Creation
  • Expatriates, Immigrants and the Egyptian Diaspora
  • Wage and Salary Trends and Social Insurance
  • Industrial Relations Framework
  • Labour Market Efficiency
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Implications, Challenges and Recommendations

Education and Skills Development

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