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Article 19 of the Egyptian Constitution of 2014 guarantees the right to education to every citizen and makes education compulsory through high school or its equivalent.  Article 19 not only protects the right of free education, but also expands the level for which education must be free over previous constitutions.  The Egyptian Constitution of 1971 and its amendment of 2007 stated that education was to be free through the primary school level, while the 2014 Constitution requires the state to offer free education through high school. 

In addition to free compulsory education, article 19 also requires the Egyptian Parliament to allocate no less than 4% of GDP for government spending on education in the national budget.  By setting a specific figure for education in the national budget, the Parliament is legally committed to insert this figure in the national budget law.  If it fails to pass a national budget law with the 4% allocation, any Egyptian citizen has a legal right to file a petition before the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court to repeal the law as unconstitutional.  

Based on a recent statement issued by the Minister of Finance concerning the Egyptian budget, education spending will increase by less than 5% in fiscal year 2016–2017, which starts in July.  Spending on education will rise to EGP 104 billion (about US$11.71 billion) from EGP 99.3 billion (about US$11.18 billion) in the last budget, the Minister said.[1]

Article 19 of the Egyptian Constitution reads as follows:

Every citizen has the right to education. The goals of education are to build the Egyptian character, preserve the national identity, root the scientific method of thinking, develop talents and promote innovation, establish cultural and spiritual values, and found the concepts of citizenship, tolerance and non-discrimination. The State shall observe the goals of education in the educational curricula and methods, and provide education in accordance with international quality standards.

Education is compulsory until the end of the secondary stage or its equivalent. The State shall provide free education in the various stages in the State’s educational institutions according to the Law.

The State shall allocate a percentage of government spending to education equivalent to at least 4% of the Gross National Product (GNP), which shall gradually increase to comply with international standards.

The State shall supervise education.[2]

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Prepared by George Sadek
Senior Legal Research Analyst
May 2016


[1] Egypt Healthcare, Education Bill to Account for 17% of Government Spending in FY16/17, Ahram Online (Apr. 18, 2016), http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/201887/Business/Economy/Egypt-healthcare,-education-bill-to-account-for--o.aspx, archived at https://perma.cc/7DQR-78S5.

[2] Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt, 18 Jan. 2014, unofficial English translation available on the State Information Service website, at http://www.sis.gov.eg/Newvr/Dustor-en001.pdf, archived at https://perma. cc/DC9A-LKYE.