Japan and Egypt opened the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) graduate school in 2010 in a suburb of the northern city of Alexandria. An initiative is now taking off to add an engineering faculty to complement the graduate school, whose main purpose is to develop researchers. The faculty aims to open its doors next September as the university’s first undergraduate faculty.
Construction of the faculty’s facilities is moving forward at a fast clip on the campus grounds in the outskirts of Alexandria. The vision is for the engineering faculty to have up to 500 students per class. Engineering programs in Egypt are five years in length, but E-JUST’s will be four years in step with international standards.
In Egypt, the range of universities and faculties where a student can matriculate is determined based entirely on the results of a standardized examination, like Japan’s National Center Test for University Admissions. With an eye to securing the best students, though, E-JUST has its own entrance exam that it will require students to take in addition.
The Japanese government has extended a grant worth 2 billion yen for procurement of analysis devices, electron microscopes, and other equipment required for an undergraduate faculty. At a ceremony held in the capital of Cairo in July, Ambassador of Japan to Egypt Takehiro Kagawa and Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr signed letters of exchange on the grant.
E-JUST wants to be known for having world-class equipment for advanced research. The school will have finished constructing the necessary facilities by July 2017 and will then proceed to install the equipment. A vision has arisen to create not just an engineering faculty but also faculties for international business and humanities.
By contributing to the advancement of higher education in Egypt, Japan hopes to strengthen its bilateral relationship with the Arab nation. In other words, the aim is to develop pro-Japan human resources. E-JUST President Ahmed Magdy Ibrahim El-Gohary explains: “We would like to see our undergraduates learn not just about engineering but about Japan as well.”
E-JUST was jointly established by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Egypt using Japanese official development assistance (ODA). When the graduate school opened in 2010, E-JUST was planning to create an undergraduate faculty as early as the following year, but the Mubarak administration, which had been in power for a long time, collapsed in 2011 with the Arab Spring, a movement to bring democracy to the Middle East. The construction plan has been delayed due to the social upheaval since that time.
Ambassador Kagawa says: “The graduate school will play a major role in training researchers, but undergraduate programs are indispensable for developing human resources in a wide range of fields. Graduates of the E-JUST faculties are very likely to work at companies, and this will mean Japan can spread its influence throughout society.”