Germans choose English to teach Cairo's well-off

November 1, 2002

The German University in Cairo (GUC) is scheduled to open next year - with English as its main language of instruction.

The project received more than €600,000 (£378,000) from the German Academic Exchange Service (Daad) and start-up capital of more than E15 million from 40 Egyptian investors.

The university aims to attract 5,000 students over five years as part of an effort by the German ministry for education and research to promote its tertiary institutions abroad, especially in developing countries.

All the courses and degrees planned for the GUC are technical subjects in the natural sciences, engineering, information and biotechnology and business studies and management.

Although they will be taught in English, German as a second language will be heavily promoted.

Fees will be about E5,000 a year. Daad has said the target group of its first institution in the Middle East is the upper-middle class, "who want to give their children a high-quality education or wish to send them overseas to study".

A recent article in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahran Weekly criticised the exclusivity of the university and another new private venture, a French university in Cairo, which, it claims, will cater only for the elite who can pay for a degree.

Baron Paul von Maltzahn, Germany's ambassador to Egypt, told the newspaper that scholarships would be made available by the German government. Daad said that highly gifted students from the lower classes would be eligible for financial aid and should make up about 10 per cent of the student population.

The bachelors and masters degrees will be recognised in Germany and should be accredited in the European Union under the 1999 Bologna Declaration.

Ashraf Mansour, the founder and director of the GUC, said his institution "will promote research as well as instruction", unlike the other private universities in Cairo, due to a 1992 law that permits foreign universities to compete with domestic ones.

Professor Mansour conceived of a German university in his home country while doing his PhD in physics at the University of Ulm.

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