World Bank: Arab education falling behind
Titled: The Road Not Traveled: Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa (pdf, 399 pages).
Notwithstanding these successes—and the considerable resources invested in education—reforms have not fully delivered on their promises. In particular, the relationship between education and economic growth has remained weak, the divide between education and employment has not been bridged, and the quality of education continues to be disappointing. Also, the region has not yet caught up with the rest of the world in terms of adult literacy rates and the average years of schooling in the population aged 15 and above. Despite considerable growth in the level of educational attainment, there continues to be an “education gap” with other regions, in absolute terms.
The education systems did not produce what the markets needed, and the markets were not sufficiently developed to absorb the educated labor force into the most efficient uses. Thus, the region needs to travel a new road.For example:
The new road has two features: the first is a new approach to education reform in which the focus is on incentives and public accountability, besides the education process itself; the other feature concerns closing the gap between the supply of educated individuals and labor demand, both internally and externally.
In Djibouti, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and West Bank and Gaza, more than 70 percent of the students are in the humanities and social sciences. This pattern of enrollment is historically consistent with a policy of absorbing most university graduates into civil service jobs, but is ill suited to a development strategy that draws on private initiatives and dynamic manufacturing and service sectors.See the BBC's news report.