For years, Egyptian students have been suffering from lack of an educational system. In an attempt to improve the skills of Egyptian students and help them in joining their dream universities, as well as improving the educational system, Cambridge International Examinations was established.
Cambridge International Examinations is part of Cambridge Assessment and a department of the University of Cambridge. It prepares school students for life by helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. The world’s best universities and employers recognise Cambridge international qualifications, giving students a wide range of options in their education and career.
As a non-profit organisation, Cambridge International Examinations devotes its resources to delivering high-quality educational programmes that can unlock learners’ potential. The qualifications offered by Cambridge, including Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International A Level, help students become confident, responsible, reflective, innovative, and engaged—ready to tackle the demands of tomorrow’s world and capable of shaping a better world for the future.
This year, over 100 students in Egypt received awards for exceptional performance in Cambridge examinations, including six students who attained the highest grades in the world.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Michael O’Sullivan, Cambridge International’s chief executive talked about the organisation’s contribution in improving both teachers’ and students’ skills, talents, and capabilities as well as its future plans for improving the Egyptian educational system.
O’Sullivan has been the chief executive for four years after being the director of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust and Cambridge Overseas Trust. Prior to that, he served as secretary general of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China.
Can you give us some background about Cambridge Examinations?
Cambridge International Examinations is the world’s largest provider of international education programmes and qualifications for 5 to 19 year olds. Every year, nearly a million Cambridge learners from10,000 schools in 160 countries prepare for their future with an international education from Cambridge.
Cambridge is a not-for-profit organisation, part of Cambridge Assessment and a department of the University of Cambridge. Our programmes and qualifications set the global standard for international education. They are created by subject experts, rooted in academic rigour, and reflect the latest educational research. They provide a strong platform for learners to progress from one stage to the next, and are well supported by teaching and learning resources.
Cambridge qualifications, including Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International AS and A Level, are recognised by the world’s best universities—in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and beyond.
Where and when were the tests held and the results announced?
Cambridge examinations are administered by the British Council in Egypt. Exams are held every June and November, in different venues across the country. Students enter these examinations through their schools. Most British curriculum schools in Egypt offer Cambridge qualifications. Results are announced in August and in January every year.
How did Cambridge honour the winners?
This year, the winners were presented with their awards during two celebrations in Alexandria on 7 March and in Cairo on 8 March. These ceremonies were attended by key staff from Cambridge and the British Council. This year, the winning students at the Cairo ceremony were presented with their awards by the UK’s ambassador, John Casson. During the ceremony, Minister of Education Tarek Shawky also made a brief address to those attending.
What is Cambridge’s contribution to improving education in Egypt and aiding Egyptian students in getting better education?
We are optimistic about the future of the education system in Egypt. Lots of improvements are being made with international agencies and organisations supporting these.
Cambridge is very pleased to be supporting these improvements. We now work with 127 schools in Egypt. Additionally, our education services team has been working in collaboration with the Egyptian government to develop the new Nile International Education System. This innovative bilingual education system aims to provide an excellent teaching and learning environment for all, offering students the opportunity to study for and achieve internationally recognised qualifications that are benchmarked to Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International AS and A Levels.
With certain programmes already in place that aim to improve the overall education sector in Egypt, Cambridge and Egypt’s Ministry of Education are fully dedicated towards providing quality education for Egyptian students.
Cambridge has worked with schools across MENA for more than 35 years, a testament to our dedication and commitment to education in the region.
Cambridge began working in the Middle East and Northern Europe in 1968, and we currently work with 127 schools across Egypt.
About 70,000 exam entries were made by schools in Egypt in the June 2016 exam series—7% growth on the year before.
Cambridge strives to incorporate the “Cambridge Learner Attributes” into the curriculum and assessments in Egypt and worldwide. These attributes recognise the need for students to develop attitudes and life skills through their education, along with the academic skills, to be successful in higher education institutions and in their future careers.
- Confident in working with information and ideas
- Responsible for themselves and respectful towards others
- Reflective as learners, developing their ability to learn
- Innovative and equipped to take on challenges
- Engaged intellectually and socially—ready to make a difference
Does Cambridge offer any training courses for teachers? If yes, will the teachers be from British schools only or public schools too?
Our programmes and qualifications are well supported with teaching and learning resources, which helps teachers deliver engaging and effective courses and develop professionally. Cambridge curriculum support resources and training are only available to Cambridge schools and their teaching staff.
Through teacher training—online and face-to-face—we provide 15,000 Cambridge teachers worldwide every year with the skills and knowledge they need to help their students succeed. In recent years we have engaged with over 2,000 Cambridge teachers, principals, and other education experts across the Middle East and North Africa. In 2016 we held over 1,100 training events worldwide. This year, we plan to increase training opportunities by holding over 1,300 training events around the world. Here in Egypt, we are planning to hold 32 teacher training workshops this year.
Cambridge has recently redeveloped its Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications, accredited by UCL Institute of Education, at certificate and diploma level. They cover four areas: teaching and learning, teaching with digital technologies, teaching bilingual learners, and educational leadership. We have seen rapid growth in entries for Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications. Cambridge currently has 106 Cambridge Professional Development centres worldwide, and this is forecast to grow to 150 centres by August this year. Forecast entry figures for this year show more than 2,500 entries will be made by August—a 767% growth in three years.