German system flourishes in Egypt's trade schools

Deena Douara
3 Min Read

Providing graduates with solid education and guaranteed work opportunities

EL-GOUNA: A typical school week for a student at the El-Gouna Hotel School may begin with some fractions and literature and conclude with beef stroganoff and guest services.

German Ambassador Bernd Erbel on Saturday visited the hotel school and attended a more general introduction to vocational programs in Egypt assisted by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation.

The three-year hotel school, founded in 2002 by the creator of the El-Gouna Hotel Resort, Samih Sawiris, consists of one year in tourism basics and then further specialization in culinary arts, housekeeping, or services, in addition to traditional curriculum and German language classes.

Most of the 168 students currently enrolled are from Hurghada, Qena, and Cairo, as well as other governorates, and board at the school. They are individually selected based on aptitude tests and interviews.

The 15 participating hotels pay approximately 70 percent of the students total fees, including board, leaving LE 1,500 for the students families to pay per year.

While the hotel school is specific in its training, the visit signified a greater trend in vocational schools across Egypt toward a larger practical component, influenced by Germany s own renowned dual-training system.

In Egypt, there are currently 51 schools, 1,900 participating companies, and 18,000 enrolled trainees participating in 29 different trades through the Mubarak-Kohl (President Hosni Mubarak and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl) initiative, which seeks to supplement theory and classrooms with experimentation and workplaces. Program director Peter-Michael Schmidt says they are aiming to expand the program to include 50,000 trainees.

Schmidt sited a jarring statistic to justify such efforts, saying that over 80 percent of graduates cannot work in their fields, adding that large numbers are either underemployed or informally employed.

Programs under Mubarak-Kohl consist of learning core subjects one day a week, learning trade theory one day, and four days working in a company. They are guaranteed work upon graduation.

While the vocational program is only German assisted, Ambassador Erbel earlier in the day helped inaugurate a German section in El-Gouna International School, also sponsored by Sawiris, chairman of Orascom Hotels and Development.

Sawiris told The Daily Star Egypt that he had decided to open the school because, If you don t have a proper school and a proper hospital you cannot get people to live [in a place]. Currently there are 20 nationalities represented at the school, consisting mostly of children of hotel staff.

Erbel praised the good reputation of German education in general and its expansion in Egypt. [Students] become personalities, he said, extolling their character, confidence and analytical abilities.

Currently there are only three German schools in Egypt, the first of which opened its gates in Dokki in 1873.

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