I had a little technical difficulty yesterday....sorry to have missed a couple of days of sharing updates. This post will be a bit lengthy but I hope you find it informative. Cairo has been warm since we got here. The locals tell us that this is unusually warm for October. However, the heat hasn't stopped me. I've been enjoying each day.
This was our first day of the CCID agenda. We started the morning at the Fulbright office. Amal Salah greeted us and we enjoyed an overview presentation from Dr. Lohof and the CCI team. This team has played a very active role in the past 3 years of the CCI program in Egypt. In year 1 they received over 1,000 applications and could only accept 150. In year 2 they received over 4,000 applications and could only accept 400 students. In year 3 (those who arrived in America in August) they received over 2,000 applications and could only accept 150 students. There is a lot of interest in the program and we hope this program will continue. The Fulbright staff are now working on ways to help students who return home after their educational experiences in America. Their team continually expressed a commitment to the students.
We then met with Dr. Tarek Osman from the Ministry of Higher Education and his team. They had a presentation that was very informative. They shared the following statistics:
**In 2003 there was a restructuring initiative. They now have 8 technical colleges with 45 technical institutes within the 8 technical colleges. In 2008-2009 they had 96,000 students and 1,400 faculty. When you do the math - that's an average student/faculty ratio of 66/1.
**There are 3 institutes serving as pilots for new technology and infrastructure improvements. We will visit several of the colleges and look forward to the updates and improvements the presenters told us about.
**The presentation also included the Ministry of Higher Education's goals and objectives of the Egyptian technical institutes/colleges.
*Faculty teaching and learning strategies
*Sustainability of partnerships - this is their main objective as they believe working with business and industry will strengthen your operations and acceptance
We then went to Abu El seid Restaurant for lunch. We had a traditional Egyptian meal. It was very tasty. I tried everything but the liver. Those at my table, who did eat the liver, said it was very good.
We then attended the CCI Advisory Council Meeting. Again, the messages were positive and collaboration sounds promising.
The evening wrapped up with Michael and I hanging out for many hours visiting at Hard Rock Cafe. It was so nice to visit with him, to visit about his goals, dreams and life. After a few hours of sleep it was Monday morning!
We started today at the American Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Mary Ritting from North Carolina, gave a wonderful presentation about community colleges in America. This was a terrific meeting as many VIP's from local businesses and industry's were present. The local employers reported they were unaware of the CCI program. They sound very interested in learning more and being more involved in the student program.....moving forward....if it continues to be financially supported.
We then toured Mataryah Technical College in Cairo. This college has received some new equipment and the warm welcome from their faculty was very nice. The culinary students served us biscuits (dessert cookies) and soda. It was very warm out and the cold refreshments were appreciated.
We had the CCI student reception Monday evening and it was nice to have the opportunity to visit with students, who attended other community colleges, and learn about their experiences. Some of the students were disappointed with their experiences and several shared their concerns about obtaining jobs now that they are home. Heba and Michael were both there - they are so kind and spoke to others about how GREAT Kirkwood was! Kudos to everyone back home!
Last evening was the best part of the day....why? Because Michael, Dennis, Ken & I were treated to a wonderful homemade Egyptian meal at Heba's sister's home. I must take a moment and tell you that Heba's sister, brother-in-law and 2 nieces are wonderful people! We all had a wonderful time, sharing stories of Heba and enjoying getting to know each other. We enjoyed looking at photos of Heba when she was a young girl too! She was so cute! Our meal was wonderful and we enjoyed a glass of kokoday. It's a flower they marinade in water for 12 hours, strain, add sugar and enjoy. It was very tasty!
Today was another busy day. However, I'm going to share that update tomorrow as it's getting late and we have a very long day tomorrow. I'm looking forward to our trip to the Pyramids tomorrow and the opportunity to see Salah & Alaa - our visiting Egyptian faculty we hosted at Kirkwood last year.
Oh - the traffic here is crazy! There are few stop lights and road signs. The only rule when entering the street (on foot, bike, motorcycle, car, truck, van or bus) is that there are no rules!!!! It's hysterical to watch and be a part of.
Dodging the danger in Cairo....
PS My camera battery is charging. I'll post photos tomorrow.