It seems that every day we are writing features about an Egyptian woman who is somehow making a mark in her field. Today’s story is that of Farida Serag El Din, Egypt’s youngest school principal at age 23. Yes, you read that right, folks, 23! When we first saw Facebook posts about Farida, her youthful appearance had us thinking that maybe was an exceptional student. However, we were shocked (in a great way of course) to hear that Farida is a school principal.
When asked about what initially sparked her interested her in the field of education, Farida stated “Since I was a little girl, I dreamt about opening up my own school. This school would be different in all ways. This is still my dream, and I believe I am working towards it.”
Farida was born and raised in El Gouna. She said that she loved her school, but felt that the way that she was being taught simply did not match her mindset and mentality as a student. Soon after graduating from the American University in Cairo with a Double Major in Political Science and Philosophy, in addition to a Minor in Psychology, Farida started researching school curricula in Cairo.
Soon after graduation, Farida applied for a job at Cairo for Investment & Real Estate Development (CIRA); a provider of education services in the Egyptian private sector, which owns and operates 19 schools. Soon enough, Farida managed to become part of the firm’s upper management. This, however, wasn’t good enough for Farida; she wanted to have the power to make a truly impactful difference in children’s education. Fortunately, a principle position opened up in one of the schools: Future British School (FBS). The CEO of the school was someone who had worked closely with Farida, and she was selected for the position of school principal. Although some people may view her young age as an obstacle, Farida has managed to prove that it is actually quite an advantage; being only a few years older than her students means that Farida has a better understanding of what best works for them and their generation.
Farida has successfully managed to implement a novel strategy to handle bullying. She tries to ask the bully to place him or herself in the shoes of the bullied. This tactic has helped decrease bullying dramatically.
There are still many dreams and goals that Farida wants to achieve, and one of them is devising and implementing a new system where students at a young age can choose the subjects they wish to study. Farida believes that this would let students focus on developing what they are good at, and what they are passionate about. This, of course, does not mean that students won’t be taught all subjects, it just means that they won’t be delving into the details of subjects which they find uninteresting to them.