The Technische Universität Berlin has announced the launch of its first branch campus in Egypt. It will be the first German university to offer programmes in Egypt that are subject exclusively to German higher education standards and laws in terms of both content and structure.
Located in Gouna on the Red Sea and due to start its academic year in October, the US$48 million campus, a non-profit private-public partnership in collaboration with Orascom Hotels and Development, will focus on providing specialised postgraduate programmes.
Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin), a leading German institution, will offer masters degrees in three areas of technology – energy engineering, water engineering and urban development – as pilot programmes.
While the emphasis will be on applied technologies for sustainable development and tackling regional challenges such as scarce natural resources, population growth and urbanisation, the programmes will be international in nature and accessible to applicants from around the world.
Each programme will host 30 students a year over four semesters, with professors from TU Berlin teaching all courses in English. Most courses will be held on the El Gouna campus but students in energy engineering and urban development will spend their second semester in Berlin.
According to a report in Daily News Egypt, the university is also considering providing masters courses in management and business, logistics, innovation management and entrepreneurship, and vocational training.
In future, the campus plans to offer PhDs, engage in research, offer continuing education and summer school programmes, and host conferences. The courses at El Gouna will be fully accredited in Germany.
Egypt has 35 universities, 18 of which are public.
According to a report by financial services company Investia, Public and Private Universities in Egypt, the remaining 17 universities are private institutions that are either Egyptian – such as the German University in Cairo, which was established in 2003 in partnership with the universities of Ulm and Stuttgart – or foreign including American, British, Canadian, Chinese, French, German and Japanese universities.
Egyptian universities have also established a number of international branch campuses. These include a branch of Alexandria University (Tong city) in South Sudan, and a branch of Cairo University in the Sudanese capital Khartoum with faculties in four Sudanese states.
According to the website of the Union of Islamic World Students, Al-Azhar University, which is the world’s leading centre of Arabic literature and Sunni Islamic learning, is considering establishing branch campuses around the world including in the United States, Bangladesh, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Madagascar, Sudan and Tanzania.
Magdi Tawfik Abdelhamid, a researcher at Cairo's National Research Centre, cautiously welcomed the launch of the German branch campus, which he sees as a possible way to help Egypt produce the high-level skills needed for national and regional development.
“However, as a result of political, economic, social and personal factors, including slow development, low salaries and the relative lack of opportunities for scientific research, most of these skilled, Westernised graduates will emigrate from the country, increasing the brain drain trend,” Abdelhamid told University World News.
Egypt suffers a serious brain drain, with 12% of PhD candidates studying abroad not returning home, according to a 2009 study, Estimation of the Economic Impact of Brain Drain on the Labor Expelling Country. These qualified immigrants work in critical fields such as surgery, nuclear engineering, laser science and tissue technology.