To Travel or not to travel? That is the question |Sherry Eldessouky

Sunday October 25, 2020
By Sherry Eldessouky

Thousands of Egyptian students are travelling abroad to study at university and this is considered a safety valve for many young people today. Why are students and parents attracted by this move? Despite the fact that this move is quite a challenge and does not fit in with cultural norms but it is now entrenched as part of the educational career path.

Spending time abroad for university has recently become a trend in Egypt and a major component of people’s lives. A large majority of affluent Egyptians have decided to allow their children to travel abroad to attain a degree. Egypt has developed a model where students complete university and directly apply for a university abroad. Clearly grades required for entry are much lower than what is demanded in Egypt. Typically, this has driven students of mixed abilities out of the country. According to these families paying extortionate amounts of money for their children to study abroad, they believe study abroad programs offer great opportunities to benefit students in an increasingly globalized workplace we live in today. Recently, more and more educators are discussing the benefits of studying abroad and the constraints that many people do not tend to realize.

These rapidly growing numbers of international tertiary students indicate that demand is high for top quality higher education and that growing numbers of students are willing to leave their homelands to obtain that education. Due to internationalisation studying abroad now is touted as a preferred means of education, although not very many people comprehend the factors that are associated with this strategic move. The problem is universities in Egypt, in particular governmental ones are raising their entrance requirements that are unrealistic. Some universities request 8 A stars to be enrolled on a degree programme. What is happening is that young people are driven away from their homeland.Why are students leaving?

Education in Egypt is inadequate to fulfill their social needs. Poor research facilities, the redundancy of certain disciplines has created a redundancy in certain skills and vocational training is still in the birth stage and among the major structural problems with education in Egypt. Many people will ask why these students do not attend international universities in Egypt?Recently, there has been an influx of new international private universities in Egypt. Still, this has not prevented Egyptians from sending their children abroad. There is this idea roaming around that their kids will have an edge in the market compared to other Egyptians who have attended local universities. Whether this is true or not universities in Egypt need to give more leeway for young people to apply and get accepted.

At the end of the day, Egyptians are paying over and above what they would be paying locally and generating vast amounts of profits for other countries. The ministry of education need to conduct some research on the losses encountered by losing these students abroad and find a way to provide opportunities locally.

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