The Al-Azhar and British Council partnership started in 2007. The project was initiated at the request of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, then President of the University, to support Al-Azhar University in setting up an English language training centre for students of the Faculty of Islamic studies. 

Our partnership has evolved since the project started. Today our work together involves three strands:

  • supporting the Al-Azhar English Training Centre to provide quality English language lessons
  • building the capacity of Al-Azhar to support the professional development of their primary and secondary school teachers
  • managing a Masters and PhD UK-scholarship programme for Al-Azتar teachers and students with the British Embassy.

Each strand enables Al-Azhar students and scholars to confidently engage in interfaith and intercultural dialogue with people from other cultures and faiths from across the world.

Programme Highlights:

Al-Azhar English Training Centre (AAETC)

  • Over 1200 students have studied or are studying at the centre
  • Over 700 students have graduated 
  • 600 students currently studying in the AAETC centre
  • Students study for four years in the AAETC
  • On average students improve English language skills by two CEFR levels 
  • 73% of students graduate at B1 or above
  • All 32 teachers from AAETC have completed Teacher Knowledge Test

Al-Azhar Institutes - Schools Training Programme

  • 118 school teachers have received English language methodology training
  • Developing school leadership skills of Supervisors
  • Building skills of teachers to be peer mentors
  • Working together to develop innovative professional development systems for teachers

UK - Al Azhar Scholarships

  • Started in 2015
  • Set up by the Grand Imam and the British Ambassador for Egypt
  • Six Al Azhar scholars studying in the UK for Masters and PhD at top ranked UK university Theology and Religious Studies departments

Read more concerning the Al-Azhar Partnership Programme here.

Our new programmes in collaboration with Al-Azhar:

English for Interfaith Dialogue Programme:

This big programme is for Azhari students, staff, and scholars to be able to engage in interfaith dialogue and intercultural exchange with people from different cultures, nationally and overseas, through the medium of English. 

It's for ambitious Azhari students and scholars who seek broadening their views of the world and getting a better understanding of the other. 

This constitutes the overall goal of the programme, which is to empower Azhari students, staff and scholars with the relevant English skills to enable them to engage in interfaith dialogue and intercultural exchange opportunities. 

This was thought to help them build bridges towards understanding other faiths and religions, but also be in a better position to tell others about Islam. 

The programme so far has resulted in a non-traditional set of pedagogical materials for offline and digital use evolving around thought-provoking themes such as critical thinking, identity, diversity, interfaith and dialogue as an alternative to debates. 

  • 37 teachers from the Al-Azhar English Training Centre have been trained in English language pedagogy and the EID curriculum to support students from Al-Azhar university. 
  • 292 students graduated from the EID pilot programme with positive feedback
  • The programme was well-received, particularly amongst Egyptian youth who found the curriculum and activities very useful in helping them understand their own and others’ prejudices and find commonalities and similarities between nations rather than differences. Hence, become more capable of telling the world about the real image of Islam. 
  • In March 2022, an evaluation report following the pilot indicates that 92.6% of students became more interested in learning about other faiths and cultures as a result of the programme, 92.5% can better use their English skills to engage with people from other backgrounds, and 93.8% value the role of EDI in developing more open, understanding societies.

"I have benefited a lot from it, there are some perspectives that have refined in my mind on some topics such as culture, social and religious diversity, and how to understand others in a better way." said an Azhari student from the English for Interfaith Dialogue Programme.

"The amount of time spent on inside class projects where students were able to express their opinions and show understanding was precious." said an EID facilitator

For more information, check the document "English for Interfaith Dialogue Programme - Al-Azhar" at the bottom of the page. 

 Al-Azhar English Training Centre in Luxor:

Building on the successful model of Al-Azhar English Training Centre in Cairo, The British Council in collaboration with Al-Azhar is launching a new English Training Centre in Luxor, Upper Egypt. 

Going to the depth of Egypt to increase opportunities to young females outside Cairo has always been a mutual wish and a priority for British Council and Al-Azhar. Our English Training Centre came to reality to empower young females from the Girls College in Tiba City in Luxor with quality English courses so they have better opportunities to access the job market and prestigious educational programmes. The centre is starting to welcome 180 female students this academic year with plans of expansion in the next year. Courses will be taught to students by teachers from Upper Egypt trained and supported by the British Council as a world leading expert in English language teaching and learning. 

See also:

- Newton Mosharafa

- Famelab