The Education of Optometry in Egypt

Egypt has one of the oldest medical education systems in the Middle East and Africa. With the exception of four older schools, the current spectrum of undergraduate educational programs can be perceived as being mid-transition to more integrated, student-centered, and community-oriented models. It is clear that individual medical schools have made and continue to make changes, exerting great efforts to achieve this transition at the level of UGME; however, more efforts are still needed in this regard for enhancement of PGSM and CME.

The lack of financial resources and the brain drain of trained personnel are among the main challenges facing medical education at the different levels.

Structuring training and assessment strategies in the academic path of PGSM, and the creation of a national system or agency for CME, would overcome most of the challenges at these two levels of medical education.

Limitations of this work include the lack of available data about Egyptian medical education institutions, whether in published research or in documents or on websites released by universities themselves. Often, institutional data -like number of admissions, graduates, male to female ratios and available resources- did not differentiate medical school data from those for higher education in general. To compensate for this deficiency, site visits and extensive communications were required. However, there was difficulty visiting all the medical schools in Egypt, which are distributed over a wide geographical area. When visited, some of the noted innovations in these medical schools are individual rather than institutional initiatives. Further research work is required to provide evidence of the success of these initiatives. Using the different available means of communication provided a partial solution and enabled us to obtain the needed data.

Postgraduate medical education PGSM.

Admission

Upon graduation, approximately 20% of Egyptian medical bachelor’s graduates go on to training programs to obtain graduate degrees and, majoring in a certain specialty; the remaining 80% go directly on to practice as general practitioners.

In Egypt, there are two main pathways to pursue postgraduate study in medicine (PGSM). The first is the academic pathway, leading to a scientific degree (MSc. or PhD.). The second is the Fellowship of the Egyptian Board (FEB) program, leading to membership of the national board of medical specializations. The former is under the auspices of the universities, while the latter is a professional training program coordinated by the Ministry of Health.

The procedures of the academic PGSM are regulated by the higher education Unified Law No. 49 (1972); each university also has additional regulations. In general, registered students must attend at least 75% of the allocated practical activities and provide evidence of continuity and progress in their professional practice. Additionally, students registered for masters’ or doctoral degrees must write and defend a research thesis. Finally, all students must undertake summative assessment, usually comprising written, practical, and clinical parts.

Outlines of the general rules for submitting to postgraduate studies in Egypt .

To apply to an academic program, the applicant must have:
graduated with the minimum grade of “Good” (for holders of MBBCh) to apply for a Master’s degree. completed a Master’s program in the same specialty with the minimum grade of “Good” to apply for the Doctorate degree. obtained the TOFEL or IELTS and ICDL certificates with predefined standards. had experience working in the same specialty. The following documents are usually required: a support letter from his/her employer. a formal statement that s/he is not registered in any other graduate programs.
To apply to an FEB program, the applicant must have:
completed the compulsory service (maximum of two years). spent at least six months in a relevant residency program. the approval of his employer for registration in the program. a proof of non-registration in any other graduate programs. a vacant place for study in the relevant program. obtained the TOEFL with a score of 500 or more. passed an exam in basic skills of Internet, Word, and PowerPoint. a certificate in the general specialty before applying for any subspecialtyin optometry.
N.B. Registration for a subspecialty requires obtaining a higher degree in the general discipline relevant to the required subspecialty  

If you have decided that this is what you want to do in your career, then it is important to understand that becoming an optometrist in Egypt involves the completion of a four-year program at a special accredited optometrist school – there are several tens of them across Egypt , and after you complete your studies you will be awarded a Bachelor’s Degree that will help you get an entry-level job.

All students that have chosen to enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree program are required to take an pass the OAT, most commonly known as the Optometry Admission Test.

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