LIKE AN EGYPTIAN
A background study for a proposed training center in Egypt
Presented July 18, 1997
The University of Houston
College of Technology
paper was written by Grady
McAllister . It was completed as a Comprehensive Exam
for a Master's Degree in Occupational Technology at the University
of Houston. The ideas expressed do not represent the views
of the University of Houston or the College of Technology.
material is a case study. Although this report refers to certain
published facts about the Aramco oil company, the writer is
not connected to Aramco in any way. The oil refinery
described is fictional. The proposals offered in this material
are entirely hypothetical; they are offered for the purpose
of completing an academic exercise.
1997 by Grady McAllister. All Rights Reserved.
Note: This paper proposes a training program for a hypothetical
oil refinery in Cairo, Egypt. It looks at four broad areas:
I. Issues and Trends
II. Program Management
III. Program Evaluation
IV. Research into Performance Improvement Needs
coincidentally, these areas correspond to the four main classes
that you have to complete for a Masters Degree in Occupational
Education at the University of Houston.
readers will probably find the first section (Issues and Trends)
to be the most useful. I drew from a wide variety of published
sources and tried to paint modern Egypt with a broad brush
before I tackled the specific business at hand.
hypothetical business at hand, performance improvement
and training, is covered in the following three sections.
I expect that interest in this material will be confined to
other students of occupational education.
the four sections form a type of business proposal: A plan
to develop skills in people who have not yet been hired for
a facility that has not yet been built.
1967, Israel seized the Gaza Strip and the Sinai from Egypt.
In 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visited Israel to
initiate negotiations over the lands. That led to the Camp
David accord and a phased withdrawal of Israel from the Sinai.
1981, Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists. Vice-president
Hosni Mubarak became president. Mubarak has survived a 1986
revolt by security police and a 1995 assassination attempt.
In 1990, Egypt participated in a multinational force that
defended Saudi Arabia from Iraq.
Egypt entered the mid 1990’s, Islamic militants continued
to oppose Egypt’s government. They fought foreign influence
and negotiation with Israel. Extremists have sometimes attacked
raids on militants are common. Recently, security forces shot
and killed three extremists during a gun battle in central
July, Egypt acted as mediator in an attempt to resume Palestinian-Israeli
peace talks. In March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
had allowed Israelis to begin building a settlement in Arab
East Jerusalem. This led to a suspension of the peace process
mandated by 1993 Oslo Peace accord.
recent talks were disrupted when a Jewish woman put up posters
in Hebron that depicted the Prophet Mohammed as a pig. During
protests that followed, Israeli troops had killed one youth
and wounded 37 others. Prior to the meeting, Egyptian Foreign
Minister Amr Moussa stated: "Talk of security for settlers
is the wrong way around. Securing Palestinians against extremism
should be examined" On July 11, Moussa announced that the
talks had failed.
Pervasive Distrust of Israel
years after Camp David, Egyptians still view Israel with profound
distrust. Many see the peace as a "pax Americana": an agreement
between the US and Egypt, rather than a peace between Egypt
and Israel. The peace is supported by $2.1 billion in annual
US aid to Egypt and $3 billion to Israel.
Egyptian press gives voice to anti-Israel sentiments. The
prestigious, government-controlled newspaper Al Ahram reported this year that Israelis had injected 305 Palestinian
children with the AIDS virus. (It later ran a retraction.)
Another story accused the Israeli intelligence service, the
Mossad, of encouraging ‘Satanism" when affluent teenagers
were arrested for digging up corpses, drinking cats’
blood, burning the Koran, and group sex.
a more mundane level, more than 60 supplementary protocols
on "normalization" with Israel have remained largely on paper.
Powerful professional syndicates ban all contacts with Israelis.
Rise of the Free Market
has gradually moved away from the socialism founded by President
Gamal Abdel Nasser. The free-market reforms became bogged
down in recent years, but privatization is now breathing new
life. The government plans to sell its stakes in 120 companies,
valued at $4 billion.
year, Owen Corning agreed to build a factory on the outskirts
of Cairo with Egyptian and Saudi partners. Four years ago,
Corning had shelved the idea when they ran up against the
changes are largely a matter of necessity. Egypt must create
500,000 jobs each year to keep up with its population explosion.
the quickening pace of reform, there is still plenty of red
tape to go around. McDonald’s, for example, found it
had to approach a dozen competing agencies just to get a crate
of buns through customs.
is common. A golf course superintendent from Florida found
that it took a staff of 120 people to run a course outside
the private sector is on the rise. Atef Mohammed Ebeid, Egypt’s
minister of public enterprise sector, has affirmed that privatization
continue will continue in spite of any stall in the Mid-East
peace talks: "We still have to do business. And business will
be encouraged by a final peace settlement." The economy is
expected grow by 6-7% a year under current plans.
Cairo celebrates its go-go days and the rise of free enterprise,
a deepening contrast between prosperity and poverty is emerging.
The economically backward southern region is being left far
behind. Dissatisfaction is high and threatens the stability
of the country. In the north, three people were killed recently
in a protest against the end of rent controls.
controls have been blamed for a severe housing shortage in
Cairo. The most visible evidence of the shortage is the estimated
one million squatters who inhabit the above-ground cemeteries
known as the "City of the Dead."
resident, complaining about gawking tourists, remarked, "Don’t
they realize that living beside a grave is still better than
living in it?"
Uncertain Role of Women
say that the free market has enhanced the role of women in
the economy. A woman who supervises a quarry states, "There
is now no business activity that is strange for women…We
are capable of succeeding in all fields." Among developing
nations, women do enjoy many rights in Egypt. They have had
the right to vote since 1956. There are currently two women
on the Egyptian cabinet.
a contrasting picture also emerges. Egyptian human rights
activist Marilyn Tadros claims that women "are going backwards"
because of the Islamic revival. Although the government fights
the more violent forms of Islam, it encourages the state-sanctioned
variety. Many more women are wearing the clothes of religious
a court has overturned a government ban on female circumcision.
(Muslim leaders disagree over the practice.) A recent circumcision
lead to the death of an eleven-year-old girl.
is also concern about acts of violence directed against women.
Incidents have included cases in which enraged men have disfigured
women by throwing sulfuric acid at them.
to Egypt's Business Information Center, the nation is well-situated
for the processing of petroleum. When combined, the Middle
East and North Africa possess 70% of the world’s proven
oil preserves. Egypt encourages regional projects which "make
the best use of the huge reserve in the region" and provide
"value-added to oil. Egypt is well-situated for the processing
of petroleum. products."
is actively encouraging outside investment and has proposed
several specific projects for refining petroleum products.
The proposals include financial incentives for their construction.
US Consulate in Alexandria reported recently that Egypt is
experiencing a boom in training. This is due to the privatization
effort and the need for a "highly skilled and competitive
workforce." The current need is only 30% filled. There is
an increased interest among Arab and African countries to
receive their training in Egypt. Americans and American training
companies will probably fill much of the need.
current major goal of the Egyptian government and business
community is the expansion of existing vocational training
centers. The following goals have also been promulgated:
of quality training for workers and unemployed graduates;
of the technical training curriculum to match market demands
locally and regionally;
in management skill training at the centers;
focus on practical training as well as quality control and
total quality management;
an evaluation criteria to provide labor skills classification
in accordance with international standards;
of accreditation licensing boards to provide certification
and licenses for workers.
Aramco’s Egyptian expansion is part of a slew of refining
expansions and upgrades that is advancing in the Mideast.
Aramco is the world’s largest oil company with operations
spanning the globe. The company began in 1933 as the result
of an agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the
Standard Oil Company of California. By 1980, the Saudi government
had gradually acquired 100 per cent of Aramco stock. Saudis
now occupy most of the management and technical positions
in the company. It is now a vertically integrated company
involved in all aspects of the oil industry. Some of the downstream
operations are run in partnership with private companies.
Aramco operates several subsidiaries around the world and
receives support from the Aramco Services Company in Houston.
According to a company statement, the Aramco employees outside
Saudi Arabia help to bring new technology into the Kingdom.
These personnel include "instructors and training professionals
for every aspect of plant operations and plant maintenance."
Strategies for the Training Environment:
an outreach program to train and hire a substantial number
of people from rural areas. This is to counter the current
impression that development only benefits people in cities.
Pursue help from the Egyptian government.
tactics for managing acts by extremists which might affect
with Egyptian government to eliminate red tape that might
affect training and the Egyptian takeover of the Aramco
with the Cairo El Salyzan Institute Training Center for
the training of workers in both technical and soft skill
areas. Also, study feasibility of using regional training
centers. Complete a substantial portion of the training
prior to the beginning of refinery operations.
the work group performance structure for the refinery. See
that the work is divided up appropriately and that both
under- and overstaffing are avoided.
the likely interaction between the two sexes and, when appropriate,
develop relevant training.
training mission is to enable Egyptians to fully operate the
Cairo refinery. In doing so, we will work flawlessly with
all stakeholders in a mutual effort to create jobs where none
learners for training. Ensure economic, religious, ethnic,
geographical, and sexual among those selected.
the stakeholders in the training program and see that
all stakeholders provide input toward the final results.
a needs assessment.
performance gaps for which training is a remedy.
the relative benefits of training and non-training solutions.
a system for keeping track of each individual's learning
needs and achievements.
the appropriate mix of training involving practical skills,
quality control and total quality management.
board of advisors will be created that will include the following
vice president of operations.
director of human resources development at Aramco Services
Company in Houston.
representative selected by the minister of Egypt’s
Public Enterprise Sector.
representative of Egypt’s Business Information Center.
representative of the mainstream Islamic community.
advisors from existing Aramco refining facilities.
of interested professional syndicates and other occupational
Leadership and Budget
budget for the Cairo training is based on the following assumptions:
Director of Training reports directly to the Vice President
for Operations. The Director of Training will direct the training
in Cairo while the Egyptian Training Programs are being created
and while Egyptian personnel are trained to take over the refinery.
total number of employees (including non-Egyptians on
hand during the transition) is between 500 and 1000.
will be trained and phased in gradually during the two
run a train-the-trainer program.
have a library and conference budget.
secretary assists the director of training.
have one full-time instructional designer who also works
as an instructor.
refinery has technical experts who conduct training and
report to the training department when they are needed.
have one or two training specialist who take care of audio-visual
materials, registration and record-keeping, and promotional
send people to outside seminars and conferences; we buy
training and services from venders and consultants.
design and produce about half of our own courses.
buy off-the-shelf courses and modify them.
have one or two training classrooms.
buy videos; we buy several VCR’s and TV’s.
have at least one cubicle with a VCR to allow for independent
have a PC. We install software for desktop publishing.
We use the computer to create our own manuals, catalogues,
newsletters, and promotional materials.
that are not available locally will be purchased through Aramco
Services Company and shipped to Cairo.
Cairo training facility is a budget item center. An annual
budget of $950,000 is proposed.
plant will start up with mostly non-Egyptian employees.
and technicians from oversees will function as subject
matter experts. They will conduct most of the front end
analysis for technical training.
design and development roles will be filled by both in-house
training specialists and outside training companies.
will initially be implement by trainers from outside of
Egypt; eventually, the Egyptians themselves will roll
out most of the training at the refinery.
will be designed by an evaluation team that will include
subject matter experts, the director of training, and
an instructional designer. When evaluating training by
an outside vender, the vender will participate the design
of the evaluation plan.
program will be evaluated according to the four levels described
by Donald Kirkpatrick.
type of evaluation is simply to determine whether or not the
participants liked the training. Nonetheless, there are specific
things that we will be looking for. We will want to discover
what the participants think about the following:
participants will evaluate these areas on a simple scale of
1 to 5. Each evaluation will also include open-ended questions
about (1) what the participant likes the most and (2) what the
participant likes least.
knowledge of the trainer
ability of the trainer to present the ideas of the program
organization of the material
sequence of the material
trainer’s explanation of the most important concepts
type of evaluation is conducted at the end of each program.
It is to determine whether participants actually learned the
material in a program.
possible, this evaluation will be a simple written test. However,
that will not always be appropriate. In many cases, we will
need to test the ability to perform. In those cases, the evaluator
will work with a subject matter expert and an the instructional
designer to create criterion check lists. At the end of the
training, the instructor will have a participant actually
perform certain tasks. The instructor will rate the performance.
third level tests how much the learning translates into on-the-job
performance. This can be assessed in several ways. Some of
the methods include:
will be seeking the following information about a person’s
These can be conducted over the phone, in person or by
mail. They may be given to the trainee, the trainee’s
supervisor, the trainee’s peers, or the trainee’s
performance contract. The trainee agrees to meet certain
criteria by a certain time.
of the worker by another party. A risk here is that the
evaluation process itself may affect the performance.
occurrence, frequency, and duration of the behavior or
form the behavior or performance assumed.
amount that the participant was involved.
resources expended to perform the new behavior
success of the performance.
barriers that held back performance.
Four: Business Results
some cases we will evaluate the effect that a program has
on business results. This effort will be limited by the cost
of a Level Four evaluation and the availability of relevant
information. Before we can determine the value of training,
we must first determine its cost.
A form already available will help determine the cost
of the training.
value of training will be determined by comparing the training
group to a control group. You can generally assume that if
the productivity of the training group has increased more
than the control group, the difference was caused by the training.
The contribution that the training made to the business is
the difference between the two groups minus the training costs.
reaction evaluation will be conducted at the end of each course.
The program evaluator will distribute the form while the instructor
is not present. It will be a form created by the evaluator
with an instructional designer and a subject matter expert.
desired response rate is 90 %, but a response closer to 100%
is likely under the circumstances. Success for the program
requires that at least 80% of the students give a "good" (or
higher) rating for the program as a whole.
test of learning follows. The test assesses the participants’
knowledge of the key learning objectives. The test instrument
will be used after it has been certified as acceptable by
the course development organization or instructional designer.
The entire population of the training group will be asked
to complete the test.
copy of the instrument will have its own number in small type
at the bottom of the sheet. The participants will be assured
that the data will be reported as a whole and not be connected
to any individual. Test scores of 80% or better for 80% of
the students will be necessary to prove a transfer of learning.
most courses, a behavior questionnaire will ascertain how
well the learning from the program has been put into practice.
It measures behavior according to the course objectives.
behavior evaluation instrument will have been certified as
acceptable by the course designer and a subject matter expert.
months after training, participants will receive a Level Three
questionnaire and complete it on the job. A response rate
of 90% will be considered adequate for the evaluation.
evaluation of business results will also be conducted six
months after training. The business results of the training
group will be compared to a control group of equal size. The
control group (people who did not receive training) will be
selected through simple random sampling.
available business records, the performance of the control
group and training group will be compared for the same six-month
period. The evaluation team will obtain commitment from upper
management for access to the records.
0.05 level of significance will be necessary to attribute
any difference to training. The cost of the training will
be extrapolated from accounting records. It will include the
cost of administering the program, the cost of participant
time and expenses, the amount paid to the training provider,
classroom and equipment costs, and the cost of evaluation.
The contribution to business results will be determined by
subtracting the cost of training from the value of training.
following stakeholders will receive the evaluation report:
The CEO, the Vice President of Operations and other company
leadership, the Training Manager, the instructor, and any
other interested stakeholders.
report will include a front cover, an executive summary, the
background of the program, a description of the evaluation
procedures, and the evaluation results. The report will offer
conclusions and recommendations. The main report will be followed
by appendices. These will include the tests and data collection
instruments, statistical summaries, and raw data.
CEO and the company leadership will receive only the executive
summaries with a cover letter. The main report will present
data in frequency histograms. The executive summary will include
frequency distribution charts for key evaluation questions.
Study #1: Technical Skills
a survey of to determine the technical skills which the Egyptians
will need to operate the plant in Cairo. Separate surveys
will ascertain the skills necessary for various jobs. The
surveys will be completed at other Aramco refineries. The
participants will be people in comparable positions. Supervisors
of these individuals will receive a separate survey.
survey will include both open-ended and closed-end questions.
The survey forms will be field tested prior to widespread
resulting data will by analyzed and reported to course designers,
developers, subject matter experts. . The results will be
described in detail and will be summarized in tables and charts.
Whenever appropriate, the skills will be illustrated through
diagrams, photographs, and samples.
Study #2: The Role of Women in the Workforce
survey will be limited to women who have worked for a business
or organization. It will attempt to determine the work-related
problems of women at the socio-economic levels likely to be
employed at the Cairo facility.
survey will be conducted as face-to-face, one-on-one interviews,
rather than as a written form. (Egypt’s literacy among
women is only 38.8% compared to 63.6% for men.) The scope
of the research will be on a limited scale unless government
funds become available to broaden the research. The sole purpose
of the study will be to determine what gender-related issues
are likely to actually affect workplace performance.
Study #3: Workplace Productivity
will be conducted to determine whether certain tasks can be
performed by fewer people.
previously mentioned golf course required separate people
to cut grass and to pick up and replace markers. The grass-cutter
simply refused to do both. Look for an analogous situation
in the Egyptian refinery industry--in a plant that is already
run by Egyptians.
a test group and a control group. Introduce work process reengineering
to the test group. Compare the two groups after six months
using pie charts and frequency histograms.
Vasthead is the professional web site of
Grady McAllister of Houston, Texas.
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