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Basic Facts
The educational exchanges between China and Egypt can be dated back to the early 19th century. The Al-Azhar University in Egypt is the most famous and prestigious institute of Islamic Study, which has been attracting Muslim youngsters all over the world to come and study. In 1841, Ma Fuchu, a theologist and Islamic scholar of Qing Dynasty of China came to the Al-Azhar university, setting a precedent for the Chinese students studying in Egypt. From 1931 when China began to send students to Egypt in a planned way to 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded, China had sent over 20 students in 5 groups to study in Egypt. During the same period, several Egyptian scholars visited China to give classes and lectures. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially after the diplomatic relations was established, the educational cooperation and exchanges between China and Egypt was ushered into a new historical era and has seen continued expansion with the further development of friendly relationship between the two countries.

I.Exchange mechanism established between high officials in the educational field from the two countries

In 1996, the First Sino-Egyptian Seminar on Education Oriented toward the 21st Century was held in Beijing and since then, five sessions of the Seminar have been held with Beijing and Cairo alternatively hosting the meeting each year. China is the only partner that Egypt has this kind of exchange mechanism at the level of high officials. The high-level contact has provided chances for the officials in the two ministries of education and educational experts to promote communications, exchange information, enhance understanding and strengthen the relationship. It provides a great momentum for furthering development of bilateral educational exchanges and cooperation that the leaders from the educational circle of the two countries have a study and review together on policy, ideas and models of educational development.

II.Frequent mutual visits by educational institutions of China and Egypt

From 1963 to 2001, 29 Chinese educational delegations paid a visit to Egypt with 9 at the ministerial level; 27 Egyptian delegations visited China with 17 at the ministerial and principal level. Since 1956, the two countries have signed several agreements on cultural and educational exchanges. On Nov. 17, 1997, the two Ministries of Education signed an agreement on mutual recognition of educational degrees and certificates, which greatly promoted the educational cooperation and exchanges between the two countries. More than 10 famous Chinese universities including Beijing University, Beijing Foreign Language and Culture University, Beijing Foreign Study Institute, Shanghai Foreign Language Institute and Anhui University have signed exchange and cooperation agreements with Cairo University, Alexandria University, Ain Shams University and other Egyptian universities to set up cooperation program and establish broad and close inter-collegiate exchanges.

III.The number of the students studying in each other's country increased

From 1956 to1995, according to the exchange agreement between the Chinese and Egyptian governments, the two countries sent 15 students respectively to each other's country every year. Since 1996, the number increased to 20. At the moment, there are about 350 Chinese students in Egypt, among whom the proportion of graduate students and senior visiting scholars is on the increase Their major of study also extends from the language and literature to science, technology, agriculture and medicine. The students studying in Egypt include teachers, journalists, civil servants, science and technology researchers, postgraduates and undergraduates, and they usually stay for one year. Besides, there are over 200 self-financed Chinese students studying Arabic language, history, Islamic doctrines and law in Al Azhar University, middle schools and pre-university schools. Another 13 Chinese students are studying for MBA degrees at Cairo School of France Business Administration Institute on individual financing. In the meantime, hundreds of Egyptian students are studying science and technology, agriculture, medicine and Chinese language for doctor and master degrees in key Chinese universities.

IV. Chinese Language Education Witnessed Big Progress in Egyptian Universities

With further development of the friendship between China and Egypt, exchanges between the two peoples increased dramatically. Students in the Department of Chinese Language of Ain Shams University of Egypt have increased too. Currently, there are over 400 undergraduates and 20 postgraduates studying and 32 teachers working therein, including 1 professor and 9 associate professors. All the language teaching is carried out by the teachers with some tutoring postgraduates. The University also established a Chinese Study Institute majoring in language teaching research. Ministry of Education of China has sent 50 Chinese language professors to work here from 1956to 2001. In order to facilitate language teaching in the Department, China has granted over 4000 books and electronic learning equipment. During summer holiday this year, China has provided financial support for two teachers to attend a seminar on Chinese language teaching in China. Through concerted efforts by both sides, the Department has emerged as a key base for Chinese study in Egypt and a window of educational exchanges between China and Egypt. Moreover, Al Azhar University also set up a department of Chinese language with over 100 students. Cairo University is actively preparing for setting up a Chinese language department which is scheduled to recruit students in 2002. In order to meet the demand of more and more Egyptians for studying Chinese, Chinese Embassy and China-Egypt Friendship Association also cooperate to offer Chinese learning courses. Since November 1996, 14 sessions of Chinese learning classes have been held with almost 200 students.
In order to strengthen Arabic language teaching in China, Egypt has also sent teachers to work in China. Up to now, there are 10 Egyptian teachers who have worked in China.

Both China and Egypt are important country in terms of education. With furtherance of bilateral relations, cooperation in the field of education between China and Egypt would have even greater potentials. We are convinced the educational exchange between the two countries would reward us with more and more intellectuals.
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