Referring to eight years’ professional experience in several educational institutions in Egypt and three months’ experience in STA, I found a huge difference between the governmental technical secondary schools and STA.
Basically, when I came to the STA I couldn’t imagine that Egypt has this kind of smart schools. I heard about smart schools from my brother who lives in the USA but I haven’t seen these kinds of schools before.
In Egypt, students, managers, and teachers of the technical secondary schools usually do not have a good reputation. The reasons for this are many-fold: overstaffed classes, poorly trained teachers, lack of equipment, lack of teaching materials, outdated curricula and so on and so forth.
During my eight years of experience in the education sector I worked in different Technical Secondary Schools (TSS) in different specializations. In this period, I conducted training courses in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MoETE) and the TVET Reform Project (TVET 1&2) working with teachers, students, inspectors and different persons from administration in different governorates.
The Ministry of Education and Technical Education exerts a lot of efforts in order to develop technical education and there are many projects in Egypt whether co-funded or funded by EU, USAID, GIZ and different other donors to support these schools and technical education.
All these projects aim to develop curricula, train teachers, and upgrade the schools equipment and inf¬structure. Nevertheless, STA is still the pioneer in this field.
I just like to point out some differences between STA and a governmental school. Of course I cannot easily compare a private with a public institution for various reasons. But some of the differences are not due to scarce budget resources and the enormous number of students.
In the following I would like to describe only some specialties of the STA, which immediately catch the eye of every visitor.
First, when you come to the STA, you will not believe that this is a Technical Secondary School. The building is designed according to international standards. This include offices, classrooms, teachers’ rooms etc. The classrooms have glass walls and therefore appear very transparent.
When you enter STA, you will see two security employees seated in a reception desk and they have a fingerprint machine in order to document attendance of students. They have a telephone to provide you with any information you need without going to search for respective persons by yourself.
When you come to a classroom, you will see only 16 students, the chairs, desks are designed especially to keep the students backbone up.
You will find a data show, a smart board connected to the internet and a flipchart as well.
The design of the classroom is U-shape and not designed as a lecture hall.
There are laboratories in the STA provided with 16 computers and connected to the internet.
These labs are available for students in order to search about information they need to know – during class and outside class as well.
There are tablet computers for the students in order to be used in the educational process on which the student can find the content of the curriculum, handouts, etc.
Education and training in STA is not only focusing on the technical subjects but also paying attention to cultural and language subjects, to career guidance and cost reduction. The STA quality management system has got the ISO accreditation which alone is very extraordinary for a school.
Beside transportation, STA provides breakfast and lunch for the students as well as the school uniform. Everything free of charge.
According to the rules of the “dual system”, each student attends his practical training four days a week in one of the numerous companies with which the STA co¬operates.
Of course the STA is not the only school in Egypt to provide modern technical education but it certainly is a pioneer in this field.
Beyond that – taking into consideration the systematic educa¬tional pro¬cess, the students, the well-trained teachers, the teaching technologies provided – the STA certain¬ly has the power to change the general perception and image of technical education in the direction of equivalence with general higher education in Egypt.
In conclusion, I am proud of the fact that Egypt has a Technical Secondary School like the STA.