The Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) was inaugurated 3 June 2010, with Japan's ambassador to Egypt in attendance along with JICA officials, who are in charge of much of Japan's overseas aid efforts for development. E-JUST operates at a temporary campus and had its first intake of 30 post-graduate students in February 2010. Previously announced plans were for it have a full intake of undergraduate and post-graduate students by the autumn 2011, but that seems doubtful unless a major Japanese institution steps forward to be the dominant sponsor and succeeds at working across the different cultures and higher education systems. It should be pointed out that JICA does not have a proven 'track record' at establishing viable higher education institutions. Moreover, with Japan's new national government tasked with cutting spending, including to all levels of domestic education, this sort of expansion of involvement overseas may prove harder to fund than was anticipated in 2004, when E-JUST was conceived.
For the complete official press release and background information see the links and texts below:
June 4, 2010
With Japanese Help, a New Dawn for Higher Education in Egypt
A new science and technology university which will address many of Egypt's educational and industrial dilemmas and hopefully establish itself as one of the world’s leading universities within a decade was officially inaugurated Thursday (June 3).
The opening, attended by Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, Japanese Ambassador Kaoru Ishikawa and JICA President Sadako Ogata, is the culmination of six years of collaboration between Japan and Egypt which initially began in 2004.
The officially named Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) will offer undergraduate and graduate courses in business, culture and engineering, with JICA paying particular attention to the latter activities.
Initially, it will help tackle some of Egypt’s chronic domestic problems, but eventually hopes to develop into a regional center of excellence in science and technology and within a decade, according to officials associated with the project, become one of the world’s top 500 universities.
PhotoJICA President Mrs. Ogata tours the university facilities.
Prime Minister Nazif touched on the same subject during his speech. 'Innovation' is the key word, he told guests and the new university will provide the link between pure research and innovative and practical economic use.
The university will become an 'island of science and technology' not only in Egypt but within 10 years in the wider region. He emphasized in particular that the center could help Africa to the south develop a new generation of leaders in the field.
Throughout its history as one of the world’s most ancient civilizations Egypt has been a regional and international center of learning. But with a burgeoning population of more than 70 million people it faces daunting challenges.
Its universities are overflowing. Cairo University alone has 260,000 students and a pupil-professor ratio of 26-1 compared with a 10-1 norm at top Japanese universities.
There is a major brain drain of graduating students seeking either higher paying jobs overseas or better ongoing higher education.
There are few links between universities and domestic industries struggling to compete in an increasingly competitive globalized market and provide jobs for school leavers.
Impressed with Japan’s post World War II record, educational excellence and economic reconstruction, particularly in hi-tech fields, Egypt asked for Japanese assistance to develop a similar establishment for higher education based on Japan's experience.
Helping to establish the university JICA, in one innovative move, brought together government ministries, academics and industrial leaders and 12 Japanese universities to explore each other's needs and develop relevant programs.
Even before the June 3 official opening, graduate courses in three of seven engineering facilities began in February on a temporary campus in the newly established city of New Borg El-Arab near the Mediterranean City of Alexandria.
Undergraduate courses in areas such as business and culture will be added later.
In a five year project running through 2013, the Japanese development agency will provide training for instructors and operational staff in the engineering and education sectors, develop further educational programs and promote university-industry cooperation. Another phase is planned after that.
Egyptian and Japanese officials describe the venture as a win-win situation for both sides.
The university will enhance science and technology education, emphasizing moral and business ethics, vital for any developing country to realize its full economic potential.
It will establish a base-line for higher education excellence, developing continuing education courses, providing internationally recognized degrees and aiming for a 90% job rate among graduates within one year – an ambitious target in a region plagued by chronic unemployment.
The university will assimilate the Japanese model for both development and nation building and promote the transfer of technology know-how to Egypt’s industrial sector.
The university will also act as a showcase for Japanese culture, values, language and technology in Egypt, the Arab states and Africa. It will serve as a platform for ‘science and technology diplomacy’ and give Japan a greater understanding of regional market needs and dynamics allowing Japanese companies to outsource business operations and activities to the region.
JICA has been involved in education projects in developing countries since its inception. For many years these programs focused on general primary education and vocational training.
But that has begun to change. Recognizing the particular importance of science and mathematics in promoting national economic growth, JICA is currently involved with more than 30 African nations in promoting those two specific subjects.
Higher education, particularly in such fields as information technology, has become increasingly key. JICA has worked closely with Rwanda in that field as that central African country continues to rebuild in the aftermath of the 1990s genocide.
On a wider level, JICA has provided support to universities in countries ranging from Eastern Europe to Asia and Africa. It has supported the King Mongkut Institute of Technology in Thailand and the so-called AUN/SEED Net project which linked a series of engineering universities throughout the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
And as Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, general secretary of ASEAN has said: “Creativity is a secret for a country’s economic growth”.
The idea of having a joint university between Egypt and Japan was first introduced in 2003 as one of the projects conductive to the economic and social development of Egypt, which is essential for peace and stability in the region. After a prolonged period of study and analysis, the two countries formally decided in August 2008 to undergo this project.
E-JUST is a unique project that reflects the strength of the relations between Egypt and Japan. E-JUST will be realized on a partnership basis between the governments of Egypt and Japan. The implementation of this pioneer project started in August 2008. The university has received its first student batch in February 2010, receiving 30 graduate students in 3 programs; Electronics and Communications Engineering, Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering, and Energy Resources and Environmental Engineering. The remaining programs will open respectively, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, and Computer Science and Engineering in September 2010, Materials Science and Engineering, and Chemicals and Petrochemicals Engineering in February 2011.
E-JUST is a joint Egyptian and Japanese university that is based on close 'partnership' between the two governments. The university is targetting 'world class' research and teaching quality with regional and global reach.
The implementation of this pioneer project has started in August 2008. It has been decided to start a postgraduate program in September 2009 in a temporary location in Mubarak City for Science and Technology Applications (MuCSAT) and for the fully fledged operation of both the undergraduate and postgraduate programs to start in September 2011.
His Excellency the prime minister Dr Ahmed Nazif has kindly witnessed signing the 'Bilateral Agreement' of E-JUST. The declaration is signed by His Excellency the minister of Higher Education and Research Dr Hany Hilal, Her Excellency the minister of International Cooperation Mrs. Fayza Aboulnaga, and his Excellency ambassador of Japan Mr. Kaoru Ishikawa.
The signing ceremony was held on March the 26th, 2009, at the Smart Village, Cairo. The event is also announced at the MOFA website.