About The Arab Republic of Egypt
The Arab Republic of Egypt, the land of mighty pyramids, mythical god kings, enigmatic sphinxes and Cleopatra, is located on the northern tip of the African continent. It is also connected to the Asian continent via Sinai Peninsula, a 23,500 sq. mi2 (61,000 km2) land bridge that is also the site of the Suez Canal. The country, which is one of the six independent cradles of civilisation, is bordered by three countries (Israel on the northeast, Libya on the west and Sudan on the south), as well as the Mediterranean Sea on the north and Red Sea on the east.
Egypt is the third most populous nation (96 million) and the second largest economy (£248 billion) in Africa. Its political and economic influence, however, transcends socioeconomic numbers. Egypt’s cultural influence has shaped Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and northern African countries for several millennia.
Islam (Sunni) is the major religion here, accounting for 90 percent of the population. However, there is also a significant number of Coptic Christians, numbering at approximately 10 million people. While Arabic is the primary language, the majority of the urban population speaks English or French. The currency is called the Egyptian pound, which consists of 100 piastres (or 1,000 milliemes).
Teaching in Egypt
The public school system is generally looked down upon, so most people who can afford it send their children to private schools. As such, there is a great demand for foreign teachers, particularly native English speakers, especially in major Egyptian cities like Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Giza. While private schools and international schools offer the best employment opportunities, many experienced English as a Second Language (ESL) certified-teachers have established booming language schools here. Foreign teachers are even sought for teaching positions at pre-school level.
The three major appeals of working in Egypt are:
- The low cost of living: To put it simply, the cost of living here is two-thirds of that of Britain.
- Work Culture: Teachers are not expected to bring their work home for grading or preparatory work.
- Friendly Locals: The locals are extremely friendly, especially to expatriates. You will become the centre of attraction at shopping malls, restaurants and markets.
To teach in Egypt, British teachers should possess the following qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Teaching certification
- ESL certification (CELTA, CertTESOL, etc.)
- Background in education or teaching (typically two years)
It should be noted that the pay range for foreign teachers here is quite low. However, this is balanced by the low cost of living. This makes Egypt an ideal destination for fresh graduates looking to build their résumé while experiencing a new culture. Fair warning though:
Egyptians are quite class conscious, children from wealthy families tend to attend the top schools in the country which are often British International Schools.
Please note that to work in Egypt, you will require a work and residence permit on top of an entry visa. Applications are usually made by employers, but bureaucratic inefficiency usually drag the process into months, so please make suitable allowances prior to making moving arrangements.
Remuneration of a Foreign Teacher in Egypt
- Salary: £1,800 - £2,500
- Working Hours: Around 35 hours a week / 7.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m., Sundays to Thursday. Private schools typically start an hour later.
- School Year: Late September to late July
- Benefits: Housing allowance, health insurance, annual flight tickets, and visa sponsorship
Local Culture and Socio-political Climate
As far as attires are concerned, Egypt has no compulsory dress code. However, this is a conservative Islamic nation, so women should dress appropriately. Loose trousers and long skirts are perfectly acceptable, but cleavages are not. Also, use sunglasses when walking around as looking men in the eye is considered a form of flirtation by some. It is advisable to carry a pashmina around in case you have to enter into a government building or attend a public function. Do not travel alone at night as women are frequently harassed here.
Alcohol is freely available to foreigners. However, take care not to drink in public, especially during the month of Ramadan.
Important: Egypt has strict drug laws. In November 2017, a British woman, Laura Plummer, was arrested at the Cairo International Airport for bringing in painkillers meant for her husband. She is now facing the prospect of up to 25 years in jail or the death penalty.
- Regulatory agencies: The Ministry of Education and Technical Education, and Ministry of Manpower and Immigration
- Cost of Living: 65.90% lower than UK
- Climate: Egypt enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate. However, the weather is significantly warmer in the southern region near the Sahara desert, where the temperature can rise above 40 °C during the summer months.
- Visa: A 30-day entry visa can be obtained on arrival in Egypt. However, applications for a work and residence permit can only be made with a written job offer.