The Egyptian Constitution guarantees the right to education. The education of Egypt’s young people shapes their career opportunities and the economic direction of the entire country. Although the government expenditure on public education from the basic stage to university in Egypt is high by international standards (World Bank, 2006), the provision of quality education still remains a major challenge for both the pre-university and university education sectors. This has led to a gap where young people do not have the skills needed in the workplace. Accordingly, the provision of continuing education emerged to promote critical thinking and the competencies required in a changing marketplace integrating technology.
In Egypt, the American University in Cairo’s School of Continuing Education (SCE) is a leader of continuing education and life-long learning and contributes to the development of Egypt and capacity of the community by providing education focused on work-related skills and knowledge. SCE’s mission is to “improve the employability of and provide life-long learning to our participants by extending the resources of the University to Egypt and beyond.”
SCE’s continuing education programs are based on learners’ needs and interests and courses are designed and regularly updated to reflect the changes happening in Egypt. What distinguishes SCE’s programs from the formal stream of education is that learners are free to choose what, when and where they learn. They know before-hand the outcomes of their learning and thus they can be strategic and build expectations and plan their career path based on their experience.
In line with the American University in Cairo’s School of Continuing Education (SCE) policy and practice, a multi-dimensional program evaluation model is utilized to gauge the quality and results of all certificates including the Logistics Management Program (LMP) for which SCE received the IACET Exemplar Training Organization Honorable Mention Award on September, 27, 2015. The program assessments in SCE program evaluation model are all learner-centered and utilize data to make decisions which help SCE’s learners and clients learn effectively and have a positive experience which makes a difference in their lives and communities.
Utilizing this model, data is systematically collected on a term by term basis at the program level to monitor learners' satisfaction, regarding the learning experience and knowledge and skills acquired. Learners who feel positively about their course typically achieve better and deeper learning, and generate positive word-of-mouth which enhances enrollment.
For example, the LMP has achieved and sustained a rather high satisfaction level of 5.2 out of 6, which is one of the highest satisfaction levels at SCE.
The learners' achievement of the learning outcomes is based on a rigorous assessment policy where learners complete various graded assignments during the term and should pass an end-of-course exam. The assignments and the test generate data about learners' achievement of all the key learning outcomes in a manner which is valid, reliable, and fair. The LMP has one of the highest pass rates at SCE of 94%.
Another substantial result, which is systematically measured at SCE, is program impact. A post-program evaluation is annually conducted for all SCE offerings, including the LMP. Through a telephone survey, data is collected to check the extent to which the program helped learners improve their employability and competitiveness in the job market and/or supported their pursuits of further studies.
Amira El-Deeb is the Assistant Director of The Career Development Department at The School of Continuing Education (SCE), The American University in Cairo (AUC). Amira has 16 years of experience in Sales, Marketing, Management, Supply Chain and Training. She holds Bachelor's in Pharmacy, MBA in Supply Chain Management and Logistics and is currently enrolled in Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA). Amira is the program designer of Career certificate in Strategic Procurement and Logistics Management which received IACET Exemplary Mention Award in 2015.