CAIRO: The British University in Egypt (BUE) has received validation for its degree programs from Loughborough University in the UK it was announced at a press conference at the British embassy in Cairo Wednesday evening.
Students graduating from the BUE in the fields of Engineering, Business Administration, Economics and Political Science and Informatics and Computing will be given a certificate from BUE and from Loughborough, essentially attaining a British and Egyptian degree at the same time.
Sir Derek Plumbly, British ambassador to Egypt, praised the cooperation between the two establishments and noted how it will open opportunities for students. He cited the presence of many British companies that operate in the two countries, such as British Petroleum, and hoped that this partnership arrangement would encourage further exchange between the two institutions.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Hosni Mubarak agreed in principle to the founding of the BUE in 1998.
However, the university opened its doors to students for the first time in September 2005 and has received full validation in just two years.
The idea behind the founding of the institution was to produce graduates of UK standards to enter key sectors of the Egyptian economy.
BUE President Mostafa El-Feki talked of the priority of Egypt being “education, education, education. A throwback, perhaps, to the famous speech Blair made on the eve of his first election win in 1997.
El-Feki talked of Loughborough as being a research-led institution, well-known for its excellence in teaching – an aim that the BUE is striving to achieve.
Professor C.J. Backhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Loughborough, who made a special trip over from the UK for the validation ceremony reiterated how strongly Loughborough values their relationship with BUE. He made the point that he hoped the relationship would deepen in the future.
“At Loughborough, we have a long tradition in the quality of our teaching and we are keen to bring this to the institution here in Egypt. So far, our cooperation has been primarily focused in teaching but we hope to move into other areas, Professor Backhouse stated.
Partnerships already exist in physics and chemistry, with plans to diversify into other fields. He mentioned engineering and science in particular as subjects most likely to offer the potential of collaboration in research.
“I see the exchange of staff between the two institutions as a fundamental part of our relationship, he concluded, alluding to the fact that there would also be an exchange of students in the future.
BUE UK Advisor Professor Ron Mccafur said, “Much more important than the relationship between universities is the one between companies, industry and higher education institutions.
He continued by saying that graduates should be “fit for a purpose – employment.
“Traditional subjects, as well as new ones, should be relevant. Loughborough does this by working closely with companies who sponsor students through their courses. The day students start university is the day they start working for the company, Professor Maccafur commented.
Academic progress is overseen by the university while the company takes care of students’ professional and commercial development.
“I have a personal commitment to bring this to Cairo. We have already made great strides in this area with Vodafone sponsoring the Business Chair position, Professor Mccafur said.
Paul Smith, general manager of the British Council in Egypt, hailed the BUE-Loughborough partnership and validation. “In times we are living in, the internationalization of education is fundamental to our future health, security and prosperity.