Science and Literacy in Modern Day Egypt

Science and Literacy in Modern Day Egypt

Thanks to ancient Egypt, the world has benefited from a slew of advancements in the field of science. Ancient Egyptians were leaders in scientific discoveries and innovations, most of which are still being used today, like traditional calendars.

Throughout history, Egyptian scientists have contributed to the foundations of different sciences including medicine, engineering, astronomy, and even chemistry. It is because of these discoveries that today’s media platforms are still shining the spotlight on Ancient Egypt with their culture and iconic leaders often being used as themes in entertainment shows and video and board games. Most recently, gaming platform Steam released a title called Pharaoh Rebirth+, which is a nod to Egypt's ancient civilization and its best-kept secrets. Another super popular casual title is the game Cleopatra, which pays homage to the beauty and style of the world's most popular Pharaoh. And while Ancient Egypt is revered for its many contributions, the same, unfortunately, cannot be said about the years that succeeded this era.

“We do not want to just take pride in our history, but we need to work in order to shape the future that Egypt deserves," said Ahmed Zewail, one of the top Egyptian Scientists of this time.

It is both sad and true that the current generation in Egypt is struggling. It has been well documented that Egypt, who once led the world of science and innovation, is now suffering from illiteracy and knowledge deficit.

According to the Global Competitiveness report for 2013 - 14, Egypt's primary education ranked LAST in its list of priorities and development initiatives. This alone is definitive proof as to why science is in such a bad state in a country where inventions were so frequent.

Unfortunately, the worrying standard of education doesn’t stop at high school level. It has also been criticized at college and even in masters degree courses. What's worse is that the number of students in universities exceeds the capabilities and resources that an educational facility can provide, which in turn reflects on the graduates. Schools, universities, and research centers are all deteriorating and falling behind the modern world because of the scarcity of resources.

Although, it's not too late for Egypt. Despite the lack of internationally recognized scientists in Egypt, it is full of promising minds thanks to the country's Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF) initiative. One of STDF's cores is the establishment of centers for scientific excellence, and with funding that go as high as 10 million Egyptian pounds.

“The ‘Centers of Scientific Excellence Initiative’, represents the conviction of Egypt, that science is the way forward,” commented Mahmoud Sakr, a professor and executive director of the STDF. The hope is with this funding, Egypt can reinvigorate its educational system and bring science to the fore once more in the country.