For the past 10 years the Qalaa Holdings Scholarship Foundation (QHSF) – Egypt’s largest private-sector-funded scholarship—has been awarding Egyptian students with post graduate scholarships to study at leading universities across the globe on the condition that they return to Egypt to work in their chosen field following the completion of their studies. The Foundation has thus far awarded 151 scholarships.
Recently, the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), Qalaa Holdings’ US$ 3.7 billion greenfield refinery in the Greater Cairo Area of Mostorod, announced the launch of “Mostakbaly” a new initiative that aims to address educational inequalities amongst students in its surrounding community by granting them access to higher education at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and the Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST). In its first annual round of scholarships, ERC presented a total of six (6)students with funding to pursue undergraduate degrees; one will attend AUC and five will attend AAST.
“Education has always been one of the main pillars of our community engagement strategy because we firmly believe that the task of building a prosperous Egypt is largely dependent on our ability to push through with educational reform and funding,” said Ahmed Heikal, ERC Chairman and, Qalaa Chairman and Founder. “We are honored to play a part not just by investing in these bright young men and women, but by serving as an example of how a private sector entity can help lead change.”
ERC has been active on all fronts of the educational spectrum with programs in place for school refurbishments, teacher capacity building and support to students. Thus far they have upgraded facilities in a total of 4 schools and conducted partial maintenance on 12 additional schools and one local training center benefiting a total of 60,000 students and 1,000 teachers. A needs assessment exercise was also conducted to identify training objectives for teachers resulting in the administering of 21 training sessions for 444 teachers from local schools. Support for students has been given through the provision of school supplies, bags and uniforms for 1,304 needy students, and the successful completion of the “Naddarty” (Eye Glasses) program which conducted vision tests and subsequently provided 661 students with eye glasses.
In the pipeline within the Mostakbaly initiative is a program that will see 30 local kindergarten and primary school teachers receive scholarships to partake in AUC’s “Teaching Early Learners” (CELE) program, a professional educator diploma at the American University in Cairo designed specifically for teaching young children in the classroom, at home and within the community.