SEKEM Development Foundation | Education & Schools | VTC | Heliopolis University | Medical Center | Arts Department
Education is More than Learning
Education is the foundation of holistic human development and advancement of all. It is a continuous challenge. Learning throughout life enables people to improve their living conditions and contribute to the development of the community and the country.
The SEKEM School was founded in 1989 and includes a primary, preparatory, and secondary school for 300 pupils. It is situated near Bilbeis, about 60 km. northeast of Cairo, on the premises of SEKEM. The pupils represent all social levels and come mainly from the nearby town of Bilbeis or the surrounding rural neighborhoods. The school serves Muslim and Christian children alike, encouraging them to live in harmony and have respect for the other’s religious practices.
Although the SEKEM School is approved by the Egyptian Ministry of Education and is based on the Egyptian State Curriculum, it also promotes new forms of educational and social interaction. Besides focusing on improving pupils’ knowledge and skills, the SEKEM School also emphasizes programs which cultivate the integrity and character of the individual. Thus conventional education is enriched with courses in eurythmy, crafts, drama, dance or music. By combining traditional educational methods with innovative learning experiences, it is possible to foster the maximum social, cultural and educational development of each child. Working and learning are interrelated and are both practiced at all age levels. For this, the SEKEM School provides spacious and well equipped facilities, including workshops and a theatre.
Education for Everyone
Students come to SEKEM schools from rural, semi-urban and urban areas; from underprivileged and privileged families; from children of professional and managerial parents; from children of technical and skilled laborers; from children of farmers and unskilled workers; and from native Egyptians and foreigners alike. Students are also diversified with respect to their educational needs. There are those who seek regular public schooling, to those who desire technical education and vocational training, to those who have special educational needs, and even to those who are school dropouts or have had no opportunity for any type of literate education. Needless to say, that this broad diversity of the student body provides educational and learning experiences that cannot be matched or gained in any other real-life situation.
The Specific Educational Programs
In addition to the General School System with a nursery, Kindergarten, primary, preparatory, and secondary school, a second educational program at SEKEM is the Vocational and Technical Education System. Established in 1997 and accredited by Mubarak-Kohl Technical Program in 1999, the aim of this technical education program is to offer young people useful professional skills that are in demand in the local labor market. The three-year technical program stresses “learning by doing and doing while learning”, as well as on the job training, practices, and preparation.
A Small Step for Us. A Big for the Babies.
Many years ago, SEKEM established the SEKEM Kindergarten as a nursery that was also to provide services to young mothers working in SEKEMs factories. Over the years, the small facility has grown and become indispensable to many workers on the original SEKEM farm. In 2012 the much-liked service has received an addition. A new group specifically dedicated to caring for babies and toddlers has been inaugurated. The new offering is again aimed at young mothers working in the factories on the farm. Due to its central and easily accessible location, working mothers can now bring their children with them even if they are still very young. They may be brought in at 8 in the morning right before the regular work day starts. Mothers will then pick them up again by 5pm in the evening when they leave the premises.
Creative and Interactive Children through Holistic Education
The SEKEM Kindergarten was founded under the umbrella of the SEKEM Development Foundation amid the green fields of the SEKEM farm. It is open to all children of SEKEM employees and children from the surrounding villages.
The SEKEM Kindergarten provides a strong foundation for children to develop and become active participants in life-long learning process. The program is designed for children from four to six years, with special pedagogic emphasis on creative play and discovery to ensure the individual and social development of each young child.
As young children live in a rich world of imagination, play and discovery, they are completely open and deeply influenced by all that surrounds them. The sensory experiences play a major role in their development. The little child grasps the world through his fingers and embarks in discovering it. In a loving and secure environment, the children learn about themselves and their world.
Their days are filled with practical and artistic work, imaginative play and fairy tales, puppetry and music, circle games and healthy outdoor pursuits. Great emphasis is put on the development of all senses, in particular on the children’s imagination and creativity.
Touching the World – Experience Life Through Interactive Science
The SEKEM Environmental Science Center (SESC) offers interactive science classes on environmental topics to students from the SEKEM Community, as well as from local and international schools. The one-day field trips consisting of practical activities cover a wide variety of subjects including chemistry, biology, physics and geography.
More Good Reasons for SESC
- To strengthen the concept of learning outside the classroom
- To teach environmental sciences and it’s principles
- To use inquiry-based and hands-on educational methods
- To increase the environmental awareness
- To enable students to participate in society
- To foster creative thinking among students