FILE - Reading a book - Flickr/Sam Greenhalgh
CAIRO – 13 February 2020: Egyptian Minister of Education Tarek Shawki on Thursday said a national reading competition will be announced next week, as he attended the “High-Level Conference on Accelerating Learning in the Middle East and Africa” in Cairo, the Egyptian capital.
The conference is taking place under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in collaboration with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom and the World Bank on February 13-14.
The value of the grand prize of the national reading competition is LE 1 million ($63,912) the minister said, adding that it will require the student to read 30 books. School and university students, as well as teachers will participate in the competition, Shawki said, in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates.
The Education Ministry mulls, in cooperation with the Finance Ministry, offering a new financial incentive to teachers and adopting a new method to assess their performance, Shawki said.
The High-Level Conference on Accelerating Learning in the Middle East and Africa gathers education ministers and development partners from across the Middle East and Africa regions, as well as policymakers, civil society organizations and education experts, according to the World Bank.
The aim of the conference is bringing together education figures from around the world to share education reform experiences and to urge cooperation in an effort to boost learning outcomes, the World Bank wrote on its website.
Egypt has encouraged reading through many initiatives, including the Reading for All campaign formerly launched by Suzan Mubarak, wife of former President Hosni Mubarak. The campaign sought to encourage reading among children to decrease illiteracy. Egypt also hosts millions of visitors at the International Book Fair in Cairo, which is organized annually. The fair was established in 1969.
Meeting with World Bank's Regional Director for Human Development Keiko Miwa and Middle East and North Africa Practice Manager for Education Andreas Blom on Thursday, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar has lauded the World Bank's (WB) role in supporting development plans in Egypt, notably its backing of current reforms to update the education system.
During the meeting, the higher education minister briefed the two World Bank officials on the latest progress witnessed by the country's education system and scientific research over the past few years, according to a statement released by the Higher Education Ministry.
He also reviewed a number of projects of mutual concern, notably the distinct experience of new technology universities and a project to develop the information infrastructure at government universities to turn them into smart universities, the statement added.
Abdel Ghaffar pointed to ongoing efforts to digitize university hospitals and enhance their health services, the statement read.
The two sides discussed proposals to update the higher educational strategy, with a view to producing graduates qualified for the labor market, the statement noted.
On her part, Keiko Miwa affirmed the strong partnership between Egypt and the World Bank, hailing efforts exerted by the Higher Education Ministry to enhance the quality of education in the country.
MENA contributed to the reporting.