Report finds socio-economic background, geographic location and gender to be the main .
A recent World Bank study shows that selective system of tracking students into general and vocational secondary education quite early, based on high-stakes national examinations, has significantly contributed to inequities in access to higher education and learning achievement in Egypt. This report called Egypt: Inequality of opportunity in education, found socio-economic background, geographic location and gender to be the main drivers of higher educational disparities. for instance, children from rural areas and those whose parents have low levels of education and are engaged in basic occupations have less chances to attend a higher education institution. This trend is however slowly decreasing: over about 10 years, the share of university graduates among the most disadvantaged youth had been increasing by 1% compared to a 17% increase among the most advantaged youth.The report underlines also that inequalities in learning opportunities begin in the early stages of schooling. Therefore in Egypt, as in many countries, inequities in learning achievement build progressively through the pre-school, primary and lower secondary stages. and learning achievement in public schools supported by the government is lower than in private schools preferred by the rich.Egypt is thus no exception to debates about educational inequality in Africa. But it appears that inequities may be in fact growing. The expansion of enrolment in tertiary institutions has benefited more young people from privileged backgrounds.Despite those challenges, Egypt is among seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa – others are the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia – that has a reverse gender gap in higher education, with more women than men joining universities (see : Wachira Kigotho, “Early school selection fuels higher education inequity”, in University World News, September 5th 2014, #333).