Education is compulsory for 9 academic years between the ages of 6 and 14. Primary school is six years and preparatory school three years. After the compulsory school years are completed, students who wish to continue can opt for secondary education, which lasts for three years. Secondary education takes places at 15 to 17 age, and students who successfully graduate can obtain the Egyptian school leaving certificate (Thanawiyya Amma). All levels of education are free in governmental schools. The language of instruction in Egyptian schools is Arabic.  


Though refugee or asylum seeker children of school age can, in principle, be enrolled in schools under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, public schools in Egypt have generally limited capacity to accommodate migrant children. In practice, only Egyptian children and foreign children of specific nationalities (Sudanese, Libyan, Jordanian, as well as, under certain specific circumstances, children of other nationalities) are able to attend government schools. Therefore, many migrant children and adolescent opt for the private or community based schools.  


A student who wishes to enroll in a public school in Egypt needs to provide an ID and educational certificates from their previous schools so that the school is able to determine whether or not the level education received is considered equivalent to the Egyptian school certificates. Certificates shouldn’t be older than two years. If the student is unable to provide these documents, he/she can apply for an alternative permission from the Egyptian Ministry of Education to enroll in public schools. If the student has never attended formal education and is under 11, he/ she can get enrolled in first primary grade of public or private schools, depending on their nationality. If the student is older than 11 years, she/he will need to complete one course of Adult Education and obtain the Adult Literacy Certificate prior to enrollment in schools. More information can be obtained through the Student Affairs Department at the Educational Department in your area of residence. Refugee and asylum seeker students need to have a valid residence permit on their UNHCR issued document. Without a legal residence permit, access to the education-system in Egypt is not possible. In order to enroll in public schools in Egypt, students should approach the Student Affairs and Examinations Section at the Educational Administrative Department in their area of residence, with a valid residence permit on their UNHCR document, and the department will arrange for their levelling exams. Leveling exams are free of charge for foreign students of all nationalities and in absence of former school certificates, a proof of student’s education level can be provided. Successful students receive a Wafedeen letter stating that the child has succeeded in the leveling exam for a specific grade in order to submit it to the school. The following are the addresses of some Educational Administrative Departments. Information provided in this section is based on UNHCR’s guidebook “Information for Asylum-Seekers and Refugees in Egypt”.  


There are several non-governmental organizations that provide primary, secondary and tertiary education for migrant children and adolescents. Many migrant families opt for enrolling their children in these private or community based schools due to the limited capacity of Egyptian schools to enroll migrant children. Some of the educational programs lead to granting of diplomas that entitle to further education. Organizations set their own enrollment procedure and might impose enrollment fees. Organizations under this section are able to provide further guidance.