Can e-Learning be a Solution for Egyptian Higher Education in the Times of COVID-19? A Look at Technological Capacities and Digital Skills

Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy

Olena Rusnak


This paper investigates whether e-learning is a viable solution for higher education in Egypt under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and policy responses to it. The analysis uses rich cross-sectional data from the 2018 wave of the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey Body to assess what prerequisites for e-learning students and teachers meet in terms of technological capacities and digital skills. Overall, the paper confirms that Egyptian higher education largely meets those prerequisites. Over 90% of students have access to the internet, although not necessarily rapid or affordable access, and most students access the internet through mobile devices. Widespread computer and internet use, including using the latter for education purposes, suggest that students’ digital skills are generally well-developed. However, students’ technological capacities and digital skills reflect important divides along gender, socioeconomic background, and location. Finally, higher education teachers appear to be largely well-prepared as well, as most have access to digital devices and computers and three quarters of teachers already use the internet for their work. Based on these findings and a review of the regional literature, a set of policy recommendations for policy makers concludes.

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