World Cup 2018: School report card on Group A countries Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay

Mohamed Salah Liverpool World Cup
Egypt and Liverpool striker Mohammed Salah is building a school for girls

Celebrities, Right to education, Teachers and learning

The World Cup kicks off in Russia - and each day during the opening week we'll be looking at the education situation in each of the countries taking part. Today it's Group A.

Every four years, the eyes of the world are focused for a month on the football World Cup. 

It’s a chance for people to see games featuring countries they may not know much about. With Group A starting today, we look at some of the education facts and stats from the four countries. 


Education system: compulsory for 12 years from age 6-17.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 4-5): 30%

Primary school completion: 96% (more girls than boys).

Student-teacher ratio: 23 in primary, 15 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 92%

ISSUES AND REFORMS: In April, education minister Tarek Shawki announced changes aimed at replacing the system with one better equipped to help Egyptian children and youth be ready for the new and future job markets. The reforms will come in for kindergarten and primary school students this year and for secondary students in 2019.

STAR FACT: Liverpool striker Mohammed Salah’s charitable foundation is building a girls’ school and a youth centre in his home town on Nagrig. It means girls won’t have to take a bus to the nearest school outside of the town.


Education system: compulsory for 11 years from age 7-17.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 4-5): 87%

Primary school completion: 99%

Student-teacher ratio: 14 in primary, 11 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 99%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: Education for children with disabilities can be patchy. Reforms for disabled children to study in mainstream schools with good support  are ongoing.

STAR FACT: Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova will accompany the World Cup trophy on to the pitch ahead of the opening game of the 2018 World Cup today. Her charity Naked Heart Foundation supports families affected by special needs and disabilities. It has built 190 play facilities and a family support centre in her hometown of Nizhny Novgorod.

Unusual Schools Russia

Helicopters drop children off at boarding school in Russia


Education system: compulsory for nine years from age 6-14.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-5): 26%.

Primary school completion: 90% (more girls than boys).

Student-teacher ratio: 12 in primary, 11 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 97%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: The country last year announced a new vision for its education system. Education minister Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Issa said: “Our current education system is a product of the past, not an enabler of the future.” 

STAR FACT: Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal Football Club is working with UNESCO to fund projects in schools and the social integration of youth, especially in conflict and post-conflict zones.


Education system: compulsory for 14 years from age 4-17.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-5): 90%.

Primary school completion: 99%.

Student-teacher ratio: 20 in primary, 9 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 100%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: There is a still a high dropout rate in secondary school – and more students repeat grades than in most other South American countries..

STAR FACT: Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez is a former primary school teacher. Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani organised a benefit match to aid children with Down’s syndrome in his hometown of Salto last year – the latest in a series of charitable giving to children.

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