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Do We Need To Create More Opportunities For Lower And Middle Class Upliftment?



Written By: Shazia Patel (South Africa)

Edited By: Basma Fawzy, Mona Timor Shehata

“Without effort, ambition, and clear business goals, for yourself, your community, your country or whomsoever you intend to benefit, you are less likely to achieve. The only real way to climb up the ladder is to optimize your time, utilize your resources, be prepared to chip a nail and buy a new pair of running shoes to always keep moving forward.”

Shazia Patel

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” George Orwell.

Do we need to create more opportunities for lower and middle class upliftment?

The nature of capitalism dictates that economic equality within a country is a somewhat idealistic concept, and that one’s success is based on the number of all-nighters one has pulled or whether or not one has stumbled upon a lucky lottery ticket. The Egyptian take on this tried-and-tested economic system is somewhat warped, with all the ends not securely tied. Why?

My proposal is that there is effort invested in the pursuit of success, but there is little room for ascension on the rungs of the ladder.

The Arab Republic of Egypt is currently in possession of a report card with the score of 80/120 under Power Distance Index (PDI.) Basically, people with very little power are easily accepting or expecting unequal power distribution in the country. Consequently, Egyptians have the subconscious idea that the endurance of large power divides will ensure their being limited to their current socio-economic status (SES.) Is this the possible reason for the fact that lower and middle class members of society limit themselves to small, in expansible businesses?  These enterprises often serve the same function as one another and are bound to become redundant which leads us to this – Is the everyday Egyptian simply lacking ambition, or has opportunity not knocked on his/her door yet?

Though Egypt’s GDP has remained fairly stable in past years, the population growth has been massive. This means that the GDP per capita has decreased significantly. Egypt limits its own economy by having few opportunities on comparing the ratio of middle to high paying job level. Many are stuck in the lower and middle classes which leaves this sector of society not optimally contributing to the flow of money in the country. Is this not contributing to the growth of the wealth divide between the lavish and the impoverished? Is it not something worthy of being questioned on a government level? I certainly think so.

It seems government can do more to help the layman, especially since citizens have been ‘outsourcing’ basic services from NGOs and the private sector. This default plan can only be detrimental. It makes the people take more precious paper out of their own wallets just for their daily halawa* and crème caramel. On the other hand, the private sector has a far greater target market because people now HAVE to use their services which fattens up the private sectors’ Louis Vuitton wallets right under our noses. What do you know? SOCIOECONOMIC DIVIDE.

NGOs are also not the answer. Their resources are limited and their support not always ensured.

Your wallet should not bear the brunt of an inefficient system.

One such basic service of which people seem to have been deprived of, is adequate schooling. The World Economic Forum currently ranks Egypt as the third worst in the world in their primary education.  A lack of education, and, thus, intelligence, brings us back to our original problem: the inability to pull ourselves up the ladder. Perhaps the problem lies not in opportunity, but in the lack of know-how. A water-loose primary education can eventually lead to a lethal flood with Precious Aqua de Vida surging down on you steadily every day of your life. You struggle to breathe because your bills, family, work, religion, and neighbor’s-dog’s-uncle’s-friend’s problems all weigh on your shoulders and you cannot run.

Almost all lower-class Egyptians cannot speak English. This puts them in positions that have little or no interactions with the outside world, and, obviously, these positions do not pay that well, especially because Egypt has been relying heavily on foreign trade and tourism since its political instability period. Is this not a pity? So many good thinkers wasted on a world that does not provide them with opportunities to innovate. A good education is the key to the safe haven in this cut-throat world. We must ensure that we equip our offspring with the “Akl”* to be successful.

The government’s plan is to generate a higher GDP from specific projects and then inject those funds into the different areas of the national budget. I think we need a more holistic approach. For example, the Suez Canal Project is too much of a gamble. There’s no surety that the estimated figures will be any match to the real ones. In fact, the upgrade of the canal only increased its capacity from 78 ships to 97 ships, but the canal was servicing much less than 78 ships previous to the expansion. Most ships were already using the Suez route even though its grandeur was not half what it is now. Why? Because the trip around Africa to get to the same place is a good 10 days longer. So, is the expansion really going to bring as much revenue as estimated? Only time will tell.

I personally would not take a gamble on the GDP. Risks are only acceptable on fashion runways or when buying petty stocks. I think a whole lot of smaller projects generating steady income for the government are more reliable than one big one. We need to innovate to revive the business sector.

There are many ways that Egypt can get out of its self-declared, self-instilled economic rut, but they all need fuel and a spark to start the fire. Without effort, ambition, and clear business goals, for yourself, your community, your country or whomsoever you intend to benefit, you are less likely to achieve. The only real way to climb up the ladder is to optimize your time, utilize your resources, be prepared to chip a nail and buy a new pair of running shoes to always keep moving forward.



*halawa – Egyptian dessert made of sesame seeds (Halva)

*Akl – Arabic word for food  


How did studying a CIPD qualification with ICS Learn change my career?



Journalism: Mariham Magdy

“Choosing ICS Learn has been one of the best decisions I have ever made!

I personally struggled for nearly two years trying to kickstart a career in HR and as we all know, HR is one tough industry to crack. “After choosing ICS Learn, I had a number of recruiters contacting me for HR roles and I couldn’t believe it! The level of attraction I received once putting the words ‘Studying towards CIPD’ on my CV was immense.

“I finally managed to gain an HR Administrator role in one of the best companies and couldn’t have been more pleased with being offered such a fantastic opportunity.”


” Other course providers did not offer upfront information about how support would be given and by whom. ICS Learn proudly promotes the tutors and high levels of expertise. This gave me confidence that I would be in good hands.
Just one month after enrolling with ICS Learn for my CIPD course, I landed my first HR role and am over the moon!”

Nikki Long, CIPD Level 3 Student

“I really wanted to break into HR/Learning and Development roles, but the jobs I was applying for required a CIPD qualification, so I then took the leap and started with ICS Learn. “From not being able to get an interview for roles I started getting offers as soon as I mentioned CIPD on my CV.”

Nin Sandhu, CIPD Level 3 Student

“As a recent student of ICS Learn, I have completed my Level 5 Diploma. Prior to starting the course, I didn’t work in an HR role, so after shopping around and a lot of Google searching, I got into contact with a student advisor at ICS Learn.

The gentleman I spoke to was very endearing and friendly, as I didn’t work in an HR role and had no HR qualifications I was looking to start the CIPD Level 3 qualification, however, the advisor suggested I started with Level 5 as I had a university degree. “This was possibly the best choice I made as it has helped me become more recognised academically and I was able to get my first HR role in Alstom within 2 months of starting my course.”

Rukhsaar Hussain, CIPD Level 5 Student

“I have been able to use my studies in making decisions at work and able to relate the practical way of my work to my academic studies. “The tutors on my modules are friendly and approachable which has made me feel very supported throughout the course.”

Bernadette Aquino, CIPD Level 7 Student

“Since I decided to enroll onto a CIPD Level 5 qualification with ICS Learn in April last year, it has already had a tremendously positive impact on my change in career direction.

After careful comparison with other learning platforms, ICS Learn stood out to me as the best one available, as I knew people who had done this course and were able to gain successful entry into HR, either like myself during studying, or very quickly after completion. 

They had good testimonies from students and offered an excellent flexible payment programme which made it accessible.

ICS Learn also offers good study support, from your own tutor, or even from fellow students!

Even though I’m still working towards my qualification, it has 100% helped me secure my future as an HR professional.”

Taj Chelvaiyah, CIPD Level 5 Student

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Which Certification is right for me PHRi™ or SPHRi™?



Written by: Mariham Magdy

When deciding to take a step forward for their international certification, many HR professionals hesitate between choosing the right credential that suits their professional experience and practice; whether the PHRi™ or the SPHRi™?

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive comparison between the two credentials, to help you decide which certification is right for you.

First, we will highlight the eligibility requirements for both:

Let’s elaborate more about what is meant exactly by a “professional-level experience in an HR position”?

HRCI defines a “professional-level” HR position as one that includes:

  • The ability to use independent judgment and discretion in performing work duties.
  • A level of specialized knowledge in the HR field with some authority for decision-making.
  • In-depth work requirements, such as data gathering, analysis, and interpretation.
  • Interaction with a broad range of individuals, including key personnel.
  • Individual accountability for results.

The Exam Content Outline for both certifications.

While the PHRi builds a professional mindset for the HR professionals on how to manage soundly the different HR functions, standardizing the steps they need to follow for the successful implementation of various HR processes; the SPHRi enhances the strategic aspect of HR Management Practices.

In other words, both certifications curriculum complements each other, and it depends on where you are on your professional career ladder to decide whether you are lacking the knowledge on how to professionally manage certain HR functions or are you ready to expand your strategic views and practices in the HR field?

The Certification Renewal:

  • You must earn 1 ethics credit during your three-year certification cycle.
  • This is a part, not in addition to your 60 required recertification credits.

I believe that the “Recertification” condition mandated by the HRCI increases the value of the certification itself since it ensures the continuous learning of the certified professionals.

One of the valuable slogans of the HRCI Certifications, is that it is “Earned not Given”, and thus the eligibility and merit of earning, must be continuously evaluated and confirmed.

Recertification is one of the many reasons that HRCI certifications are the most recognized and trusted by HR professionals and the organizations they serve. And now, recertification credits are easier than ever for you to access and earn.

And now let us know more about the Exam Format & Length:

The Exam Questions are either multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, drag and drop, or scenarios.

The scenario questions present typical HR situations, followed by a series of exam items based on the scenario. These scenarios require you to integrate facts from different subject areas.

The HRCI website provides extremely useful bundles for the exam preparation material along with trial tests to assist you to get familiar with the certification exam questions and exercise them widely prior the exam itself.

In addition, the HRCI offers a “Second Chance Insurance” which is a pre-paid and non-refundable fee allowing you to take the exam for a second time in case of failing your first time.

Whether being certified as PHRi or SPHRi, the certification has three main advantages for you:

  • Requires specific work experience, competency, and education.
  • Requires recertification, which makes sure that you stay current in the HR profession through continuing education.
  • Allows you to put the letters after your name.

Through the HRCI valuable certifications, you get connected to an exclusive network of motivated HR professionals around the globe – Nearly 145,000 certified HR thought leaders working in more than 100 countries and territories.

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Emotional Intelligence and Business Excellence



Written By: Dr. Maha Magdy

Many of us as soon as they hear about ” Emotional Intelligence” think that it’s only related to love and relations with your partner, but have you ever related it to your business? How would it help you achieve your goals? Increase your income? Enrich your resources?

In business world, we usually care for IQ of candidates and consider it one of the main aspects to use for the performance evaluation of employees, ignoring their EQ which is proved to be the strongest predictor of positive performance and long-term success according to recent studies.

Let us first identify what is meant by EQ to be able to discover how foundational it is for a thriving workplace.

EQ or Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of your emotions, moods & motives and to redirect them and manage your behaviors.

In other words, emotions are energy, and “Emotional Intelligence” is the ability to use or direct this energy to push you towards achieving your goals, which means you need first to identify your emotions then deal with them wisely.  

If you aim to be a unique leader you must know that rising your EQ enables you to influence other’s emotions and interact with them successfully and even direct their reactions!

This is not a bare claim, but a scientific truth that I am going to explain now.

Scientifically, EQ is the ability of your brain to build strong neural connections between: “the limbic system” (center for emotions in your brain) and “the prefrontal cortex ” (the rationale thinking center), the more neural connections your brain build, the more emotionally intelligent you become.  The good news is that you can train your brain to build these neural connections through emotional intelligence coaching techniques.

Emotional Intelligence, as I mentioned before, is mainly about emotional awareness, which is the ability to recognize your feeling, understand your habitual responses to events and realize how your emotions affect your behaviors and performance which is critical to your business.

Emotional Intelligence also enables you to acquire the ability to manage your emotions, stay focused and think clearly even when experiencing powerful emotions, which is crucial for your productivity, and would be reflected on your decisions, motivation, and relationships with others.

Emotional Intelligence coaching techniques will help you discover your limiting thoughts and beliefs and reframe them to unleash your potential and achieve the goals you though before to be unachievable, simply you would be able to choose how to react and whom to be.

One of the most important skills you acquire through emotional intelligence is the ability to master your personal power, the secret to become limitless through realizing your real capabilities and use them to put yourself where you deserve to be.

In these quick changes and surprising events, we face every day, emotional intelligence allows you to cope with stresses in a healthy way and minimize your negative thinking, this will protect both your physical and mental health and would reflect on your business.

Enhancing your EQ promotes you to build better relationships which reflects directly and indirectly on your business whether you are in a managerial position or an employee.

From all that we have mentioned above, we can realize how emotional intelligence would benefit your business through greater performance and productivity, greater income, improving personal skills, improving leadership skills, and acquiring a more healthy and stable work environment especially that it could be developed through training.

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