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Egyptian Refining Company launches 'Mostakbaly' scholarship programme

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The Egyptian Refining Company has launched its 'Mostakbaly' scholarship programme in order to fund educational opportunities for the students and teachers in Mostorod.

The Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), Qalaa Holdings’ US$3.7 billion greenfield refinery in the Greater Cairo Area of Mostorod, has 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 students with funding to pursue undergraduate degrees; one will attend AUC and five will attend AAST.

In the pipeline within the Mostakbaly initiative is a programme that will see 30 local kindergarten and primary school teachers receive scholarships to partake in AUC’s 'Teaching Early Learners' (CELE) programme, 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.

“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 honoured 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.”

“We are particularly excited about the scholarships that we will be providing for our teachers. If we are to truly impact the quality of education in Egyptian public schools we have to tackle the issue on all fronts from the infrastructure of the actual school premises, to the administrators, teachers and students,” said ERC Managing Director, Dr. Mohamed Saad.

ERC has been active on all fronts of the educational spectrum with programmes in place for school refurbishments, teacher capacity building and support to students. Thus far they have upgraded facilities in a total of four schools and conducted partial maintenance on 12 additional schools and one local training centre, benefiting a total of 60 000 students and 1000 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 1304 students, and the successful completion of the 'Naddarty' (eye glasses) programme, which conducted vision tests and subsequently provided 661 students with eye glasses.

“All of these important initiatives are a testament to our belief in education and our commitment towards Egyptian youth,” said Aliaa Ahmed, ERC’s Deputy CFO. “But this is just a drop in the bucket. If we are to achieve real change we need more private sector-led programmes that can fund access to education at all levels as this will be vital for the future development of our country,” she added.

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.

The ERC has been carrying out a community needs assessment and stakeholder mapping to be able to design strategic and culturally appropriate interventions through purpose-built community centres since 2008. Thus far, 950 members of the community, 215 of which are women, have been trained as welders, pipe fitters, electricians, mechanics, cell phone maintenance providers, computer technicians, and seamstresses. A soft skills and technical training programme has also helped train 254 community members on important skills such as CV writing and computer literacy.

Moreover, ERC’s Community Development Office has introduced numerous job opportunities for members of the local including: 1956 workers engaged in construction activities and 120 supplementary small projects for youth and women.

“We view the building of strong relationships with neighbouring communities as a long term effort that will be ongoing throughout the construction phase of our refinery which now stands at more than 90% completion, and into the operational phase of the project,” said Dr. Saad.

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.

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