Despite its name, the University of Cairo is actually located in the city of Giza and overlooks the Nile.
One of the country’s oldest institutions, the public university was founded in 1908 and has about 230,000 students of whom about 3 per cent are from overseas. Just 2 per cent of staff and 2 per cent of students at Egyptian universities come from outside the country. International students living in Cairo enjoy relatively low living costs and have some of the country’s ancient attractions on their doorstep.
The University of Cairo has more than 25 faculties, including engineering, medicine, agriculture and archaeology, with undergraduates programmes in subjects stretching from pomology to physical therapy. While the official language of Egypt is Arabic, English is the “first language” in universities, according to Ashraf Mahmoud Hatem, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Universities in Egypt.
The Grand Celebration Hall, a well-known symbol of Cairo University with its domed roof, is the site of various cultural and artistic events and can seat about 4,000 people. Other striking buildings on campus include the Central Library.
Notable alumni include the former United Nations secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Omar Sharif, the Oscar-nominated actor, Mohamed Morsi, a former president of Egypt, and Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League from 2001 to 2011.
About a third of Egypt's population is under the age of 15 and demand for higher education is growing. Following Egypt’s Arab Spring turmoil, the country began planning major reforms to its higher education system.