The dual education system in Cairo: What we teach at the Egyptian capitol’s “School of Excellence” – and why. An encouraging example for social sponsoring in the land of the Nile.
She was skeptical, very skeptical. “I did not believe that my school would ever look like they promised”, says Samah Aly, “I thought that was all talk.” In the Facebook clip, Samah Aly wears a mustard yellow headscarf and a red jacket; she looks both proud and self-confident at the same time and continues: “In a couple of months our old school will be completely rebuilt. I would have never expected that. They kept their promise.” Samah Aly teaches Mechanical Maintenance and Repair at the “Zein El Abedeen School“ in Cairo. There, since October 2018, Egyptian students are being trained in a dual education system after the German model – in class and in companies. The education takes three years.
26 Classrooms, 6 Laboratories
Currently there are 138 students enrolled in the „Zein El Abedeen School of Excellence”. This technical school in Egypt’s capitol city already existed when, in November 2017, Siemens, together with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), decided to modernize the school completely and to begin two new training courses: Industrial Electrics and Automation, and Mechanical Maintenance and Repair. Now, 26 classrooms, 6 laboratories and 6 workstations with workbenches and computers for the students stand ready – to the great satisfaction of teacher Samah Aly.
A Population of 100 Million and More
Egypt is a country with more than 100 million inhabitants. Problems in generating power are part of every-day life; therefore Siemens built a huge power plant directly at the Nile. Keyword: Security of supply. Thanks to the three new gas- and steam-turbine (GuD) power stations in Beni Suef, Burullus and New Capital, the power generation in Egypt has risen 14.4 gigawatts (GW). This power is enough to reliably and efficiently supply up to 40 million people with electric energy.
Our company’s purpose is not just the sale of our products. Active worldwide, Siemens is often involved in billion-dollar joint ventures. In those countries, we want to leave behind more than, for example, power stations that run on our gas turbines. The question is: How can we help the country? What can be given back to its society? Technology should be accessible. Education should be accessible. Every year the “Zein El Abedeen School” enables 50 students per training course the access to the newest technologies, such as 3D-printers and Siemens software like the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software (PLM).
Fit for the Market
Ahmed El Saadany also enjoys watching the institute grow. He is the Siemens Liaison to the school in Cairo. He says: “For the young generation in Egypt, social sponsorship aiming at education offer them a great opportunity to be trained in a dual system where training takes place both in the company and at the school. We hear again and again how great the challenge is to achieve both together. But after graduation, graduates are proud and satisfied to be fit for the job market. With the degree, the chances of a first job and social advancement increase enormously.”
Despite the size of the country and the high percentage of youth in the population, education is a big challenge in Egypt. When one wants to give young people a reasonable job, one have to train them. This is where our sponsoring activities work. Siemens seeks partners that can be supported – as a technology-driven company, in this case, we count on technical training. In the ideal case, the young graduates of “Zein El Abedeen School” work in one of our three power stations at the Nile after their graduation in October 2020.
We build up our social sponsoring on deep foundations in each country. Strong regional partners are important. As in Cairo, we follow a similar approach with our financial engagement in Iraq. There we support the medical sector in rural areas by offering basic help care services, called “smart clinics”. In neither country do we want to define and decide everything out of Munich. In Egypt, for example, we work together with the Ministry of Education. After we had found the right vehicle in Cairo, in this case the already existing school, we rebuilt and modernized it together. We invested nearly € 1 Million in cash benefits and kind. In addition: Further education for the teachers is provided by instructors from Germany, however, the teachers who educate the students are Egyptians. We connect our social activities with the business we do there. That gives value. That achieves sustainability.
A Better Future
The facility is organized as a state school. A regional unit for the dual system (RUDS) chooses the students that will be taught here. Currently, Siemens cooperates with RUDS in order to find assessment tools with which it will be easier in the future to find the best possible choice of candidates. This procedure is strict and the training is demanding. But it will pay off in the future. Many students are convinced of that.
Center of Excellence
In the meantime, our financial sponsoring has ended. Nevertheless, Siemens still supports the school technically and will have a seat in the school’s board. The GIZ is guiding the school with a ten-year concept. The result should be a “Center of Excellence” that can serve as a blueprint for others and hopefully finds emulators. This way, the school could become a role model for others. That would boost efficiency and help educate the local workforce, who can then satisfy the current and future needs of the Egyptian industry. That means much more to us than just have an increasing amount of people working: Siemens wants to support and protect communities so that they do not drift apart but sustain. As a socially responsible company protecting values, sustaining communities is one of our biggest aims with social sponsoring.