Azazy Group, a pioneer in education since 1958, has reached a whole new level with its partnership with Malvern College. In the presence of guests such as the former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prince Michael of Kent, the agreement was signed in December and marks a historic event for the country, being the first time any top British school has opened an international branch in Egypt
A landmark moment in Egypt’s education sector has been reached that brings together long-established British expertise with the republic’s enterprising future. On December 14 2014, Khaled Azazy, Chairman and CEO of the Cairo-based Azazy Group and representing the Worldwide Group for Investment and Development, officially signed an agreement to establish Egypt’s first UK franchise school with the esteemed Malvern College.
“We are proud and honoured to be associated with Malvern College, UK,” says Mr Azazy. “The aim of Malvern College Egypt is to enable its students to achieve academic excellence. However, what we aim to offer will go far beyond the realm of just academics. We believe that every child has a talent at something and we see it as our duty to recognise, nurture and foster that talent at an early age.”
The signing ceremony was attended by a host of high-level guests, including the cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Michael of Kent, who commented, “Malvern College Egypt will be able to provide a fund of knowledge to international education. I congratulate the Azazy Group for taking the initiative to invite Malvern College to become established in New Cairo for what I am sure will be a highly successful future working together.”
It also came around the same time as President El Sisi announcing a new initiative to build an Egyptian society that “learns, thinks, and innovates.”
Other dignitaries and personalities in attendance included Lord MacLaurin, Chairman of Malvern College; Jehan Sadat, former First Lady of Egypt; Antony Clark, Headmaster of Malvern College; Baroness Gloria Hooper; actors Liz Hurley and the late Omar Sharif; singer Gabrielle, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who stated that the new institution would provide “education for an open mind.”
Speaking ahead of the event, the British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson said, “The lifeblood of Britain’s strong and vibrant relationship with Egypt is people. Every day, thousands of Brits and Egyptians learn, do business, enjoy holidays, create music and films together. Education is at the heart of this: the key to Egypt’s future and an area where Britain leads the world. Tonight we are launching a world class new school with British roots and an Egyptian future, the latest in a long line of British investments in Egypt’s greatest resource – its young people.”
The establishment of Malvern College Egypt represents a significant milestone for Egypt’s primary education system and reflects a noticeable growth in demand for British education. “Here in Egypt, with a higher than average youth population and the official unemployment rate standing at 13 per cent, this new British school brings great hope to many young people,” commented Baroness Gloria Hooper at the launch.
The school will be ideally located between Maadi and New Cairo, two well-known and affluent parts of Cairo. Scheduled to open its doors for the September 2016 intake, it will be a co-educational day school for boys and girls aged three to 18.
However, parents have been able to start enrolling their children from September 2015. The school will prepare students for IGCSE as well as A-Level or International Baccalaureate examinations and will implement the same educational system for both curricular and extracurricular activities as its parent school in the UK.
When Malvern College Egypt does open its doors next year, it will join the esteemed company of two British-modelled education institutions already operating in the country. The British University in Egypt (BUE) – formed by a Memorandum of Cooperation between the UK and the Egyptian Governments which envisaged an institution that would produce graduates of UK standards for key sectors of the Egyptian economy – was inaugurated in 2006 by the Prince of Wales. The University provides a British style of education and awards degrees validated by its partner UK universities and the Egyptian Supreme Council. Located some 30 km from downtown Cairo, the campus covers approximately 40 acres (fedans) of land with some 27,000 m² space of modern purpose-built teaching facilities.
“BUE decided that it would adopt the British model of higher education to ensure the quality of its programmes,” says Prof. Ahmed Hamad, President of BUE. “To manage this, 10 years ago we identified the top 10 UK universities and decided to make an agreement with Loughborough University to accredit four of our faculties; Engineering, Informatics, Business Administration and Nursing (with Queen Margaret College). This has meant that from its beginning, the BUE has guaranteed education with British standards thus helping raise the average quality of education.”
The Cairo English School (CES) is another institution that has been at the forefront of bringing quality British education to Egypt. CES opened in 2006 with 130 students and now has over 1500 students from the ages of three to 17. The school is situated on a purpose built modern campus in the rapidly growing area of New Cairo.
“The UK was present in Egypt for over 50 years, so we still have the feelings and memories,” says Mounir Ghabbour, Chairman of CES. “We still believe until now that the UK has helped Egypt. So once I established this school in 2005, I decided to use the British education system.”
Mr Ghabbour adds that it makes sense for Egyptian’s to learn through English, not just because of the British influence on Egypt’s history or the renowned quality of the British education system, but because English has become the world’s language of choice. “There are 10 to 15 British private schools now in Cairo. But back in the days, the majority of schools were French. Now we see this changing to British education, because on a worldwide level the most important language is English.”