09TH mAR, 2017 -The Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), Qalaa Holdings’ US$ 3.7 billion greenfield refinery in the Greater Cairo Area of Mostorod, announced today the launch of phase two of “Mostakbaly,” an initiative that was originally unveiled in October 2016 to address educational inequalities amongst students and improve the quality of education offered by public schools in its surrounding community which includes Mostorod, El Khesous, Shobra El Kheima and El Matarreya.
The Mostakbaly teachers’ initiative is an annual scholarship program that will grant 30 local kindergarten and primary school teachers the opportunity to enroll 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. The intensive one-year program focuses on achieving a qualitative improvement of skills by exposing teachers to the latest techniques in “early-years education” and includes specific modules in areas such as child development & learning theory, assessment of young learners, and technology and media for young learners. Performance is evaluated after the conclusion of the program to ensure that teachers are applying what they have learned.
The Mostakbaly student program, which just awarded its first batch of scholarships, provides six annual grants for undergraduate students to study at AUC and the Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST). ERC has also launched a new annual scholarship that will fund graduate studies at leading Universities in the U.S and Europe. While all qualified candidates will be considered for the ERC scholarship, special priority will be given to students from ERC’s surrounding community: Mostorod, El Matareya, Shobra El Kheima and El Khesous
“Providing access to new skills and educational experiences is of the utmost importance at this particular stage in Egypt’s development. These types of investments in Egyptian youth will help take the country to next level in its economic growth,” said Ahmed Heikal, ERC Chairman and, Qalaa Chairman and Founder. At Qalaa we have always held the belief that the task of building a prosperous Egypt is largely dependent on our ability to push through with educational reform and funding.”
Mostakbaly is a part of ERC’s far-reaching sustainability initiatives. Since 2008 the company has been carrying out community needs assessments and stakeholder mapping in order to design strategic and culturally appropriate interventions through purpose-built community centers. The choice of education as a platform is the direct result of the needs assessment which ascertained that educational opportunities and facilities were severely lacking.
“We are particularly optimistic about the teachers’ scholarships because they will be impacting the early education of large numbers of students in our community. The positive impact that 30 public school teachers each year can have on their respective schools is really significant,” said ERC Managing Director, Dr. Mohamed Saad. “We are working closely in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Qalyoubia and Cairo governorates to ensure the success of the program which will also monitor and evaluate teachers after the completion of their professional degrees.”
Teachers were selected for the program based on their ability to demonstrate a passion for learning, a general willingness to transfer knowledge to other members of their community, and a previous record of community and school service participation.
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. Additional support for students and teachers has been given through the provision of school supplies, bags and uniforms for 1,304 needy students, the successful completion of the “Naddarty” (Eye Glasses) program which conducted vision tests and subsequently provided 1,364 students with eye glasses, and a training program for 444 teachers. ERC has also been committed to promoting environmental awareness programs in the local community. A total of 2,400 students participated in 8 different environmental awareness campaigns including Think & Save which aims to increase student awareness on keeping their environment clean and conserving water & electricity.
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.
As an important import substitution project delivering diesel and other high-value products to the EGPC at the heart of the consumption market in Greater Cairo, ERC is viewed as strategically important to Egypt’s energy security.