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Do not give up on a Dream

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Despite rising unemployment among graduates, post-secondary education is still perceived as highly desirable in Egypt and prioritized by most families. Each year, all faculties and colleges define quotas for the admittance of new students. Thus, secondary education exam time becomes a nightmare for students to compete on a limited number of places at public universities.

Egyptian children and youth spend approximately 14 years in the formal educational system. Having an academic mentor is not common at Egyptian schools; the role of these mentors is to advise, guide, and support students to achieve their dreams. Accordingly, when high school students are asked about their dreams and future plans, they usually give vague and stereotypical answers, such as “It depends on my final score” or “I would like to join a good faculty”.

This leads to a situation where many young Egyptians study subjects not out of personal interest or talent, but mainly due to their final score—at least for those who are confined to the public educational system—and they just give up on their dreams.

That could be the easiest thing young people can do; they put their dreams on hold just for the lack of an opportunity. While there is nothing wrong with that, we have to ask, will this make us happy individuals on the long term? Whether you are a school or university student, or even a graduate, never give up on your dream; always seek to achieve it sooner or later. In fact, you will never be too old to follow a dream.

A massive number of organizations worldwide implement regular initiatives, which help individuals pursue their studies and achieve their dreams, whether in the form of guidance or actual support. Accordingly, many online portals have appeared to help students access different support forms, such as scholarships.

Scholarships exist for everyone regardless of their social backgrounds, interests, nationalities, religious, or political views. There are always scholarships out there, but it entails some effort from your side; thus, you have to keep looking.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) has implemented many initiatives in education one of which is the series of “Sketch Your Future” conferences, started in 2006. The conference is organized annually in order to transmit the message of “Be what you want regardless of the university you join”. It displays the differences between school and university education systems to students who are about to join university. It also guides them to choose the faculty that best suits their skills by highlighting the fields of study and different job opportunities. More information about the conference and its dates are available here.

Another initiative was implemented by the BA is the “Higher Education Funding Opportunities in the Arab Region” online Directory, 2011-2013. The online Directory provides information on scholarships opportunities and useful links to Arab students and higher education institutions. Moreover, the website includes a guide in order to acquaint students with application process and universities requirements, and commonly used academic terminologies. Besides, it provides practical advice on how to fill out applications and to prepare university application supporting documents, such as Curriculum Vitae (CVs) and recommendation letters. The Directory is available for free access here.

It takes time to learn how to own our lives, nurture our goals, and realize our dreams, but fortunately we have time if we are willing to seize it.

References                   

Hartmann, Sarah (2008). The Informal Market of Education in Egypt: Private Tutoring and its Implications. Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz.

www.theguardian.com


This article was first published in print in SCIplanetSpring 2015 Issue.


Cover Image: Books study photo created by asierromero - www.freepik.com

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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