Cover: Fixing What's Wrong -- and Building on What's Right -- With Middle East Education

Fixing What's Wrong -- and Building on What's Right -- With Middle East Education

Published 2006

by Cheryl Benard

Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Over the past few decades, development experts have placed great emphasis on the crucial role of education in improving social, economic, and political conditions in the Middle East. Significant regional and international resources have been invested in education. But the gains have been uneven, and it is time to pause and assess the results. Most troubling is the missing correlation between educational advances and economic opportunity. The anticipated links-from schooling to employment, and from education to social stability-are absent in many locations. In some places, progress in these areas has even been reversed. Much more emphasis needs to be placed on the socialization and life-competency aspects of education. Reforms should seek to structure the education system not only according to abstract international standards of pedagogy, but in closer alignment to feasible economic links and to civic values. Rather than overarching goals related to abstract measures such as literacy and testing scores, success should be measured by whether graduates are able to find work and develop an identity as productive citizens. Further, resources should support positive trends. In reviewing what has worked best, it becomes apparent that educational investment has been particularly helpful for young Arab women, who show significant and in some instances dramatic improvement in educational levels and economic participation. Along with these gains have come changing attitudes and increased support for women’s education by parents, educators, and communities, showing that positive outcomes can help change attitudes.

Reprinted from The SAIS Review of International Affairs, Vol. XXVI, No. 2, Summer-Fall 2006, pp. 29-45. Copyright © 2006 The Johns Hopkins University Press. Reproduced with permission of The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Originally published in: The SAIS Review of International Affairs, Vol. XXVI, No. 2, Summer-Fall 2006, pp. 29-45.

This report is part of the RAND reprint series. The Reprint was a product of RAND from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.