Cairo University (Arabic: جامعة القاهرة, romanized: Jāmiʿa al-Qāhira), also known as the Egyptian University from 1908 to 1940, and King Fuad I University and Fu’ād al-Awwal University from 1940 to 1952, is Egypt’s premier public university. Its main campus is in Giza, immediately across the Nile from Cairo. It was founded on 21 December 1908; however, after being housed in various parts of Cairo, its faculties, beginning with the Faculty of Arts, were established on its current main campus in Giza in October 1929.
The university is the second oldest institution of higher education in Egypt after Al-Azhar University, notwithstanding the pre-existing higher professional schools that later became constituent colleges of the university. It was founded and funded as the Egyptian University by a committee of private citizens with royal patronage in 1908 and became a state institution under King Fuad I in 1925. In 1940, four years following his death, the university was renamed King Fuad I University in his honor. It was renamed a second time after the 1952 Egyptian Revolution. The university currently enrolls approximately 155,000 students in 20 faculties and 3 institutions. It counts three Nobel Laureates among its graduates and is one of the 50 largest institutions of higher education in the world by enrollment.
History Before he retired in 1907, the British representative in Egypt, Lord Cromer, remained opposed to establishing of higher education in the country for fear that it would foment unrest. The university opened as a small private institution in 1908. Its early founding and location made it a model for later universities throughout the Arab world. It was taken over as a state university in 1925 and became Cairo University in 1954. The university was founded on 21 December 1908, as the result of an effort to establish a national center for higher education. Several constituent colleges preceded the establishment of the university including the College of Engineering (كلية الهندسة) in 1816, which was shut down by the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, Sa’id Pasha, in 1854. Cairo University was founded as a European-inspired civil university, in contrast to the religious university of Al Azhar, and became the prime indigenous model for other state universities. In 1928, the first group of female students enrolled at the university. On 27 January 2020, Egypt’s High Administrative Court approved Cairo University’s decision to ban its professors from wearing the niqab or face veil which was introduced in 2015.
Foundation At the turn of the century, Egyptian intellectuals and public figures began making calls to establish an Egyptian institute of higher education to provide a modern, professional education to Egyptians. Armenian bureaucrat Yaqub Artin made the first known published reference to establishing an Egyptian university in 1894. In a report, he suggested “the existing higher professional schools could well provide the basis for a university.” These higher schools included the School of Management and Languages, established in 1868 (which became the School of Law in 1886), the School of Irrigation and Construction (known as the School of Engineering) in 1866, Dar al-Ulum in 1872, the School of Agriculture in 1867 and the School of Antiquities 1869.
Ranking Cairo University is usually ranked among the down universities in Egypt, and one of the top universities in Africa. In QS ranking 2021, Cairo University was ranked the 2nd in Egypt and the 6th across Africa, and it was rated 561-570 worldwide.