Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

The Political Economy of Education in the Arab World

Hicham Alaoui and Robert Springborg, editors
The Political Economy of Education in the Arab World
ISBN: 978-1-62637-935-0
ISBN: 978-1-62637-944-2
2021/297 pages/LC: 2021015777
"A rich set of studies.... No future work on education in the region can avoid engaging the insights and analyses presented in this volume." —Laurie A. Brand, Middle East Journal

"A timely discussion about the urgency of the issue at hand—how to restructure Arab educational systems away from a context of political cronyism, nepotism, and clientelism into one where high levels of educational achievement by students are actually rewarded and realized with the commensurate success and status in their societies.... Let's hope a few current (and future) Arab technocrats and legislators pick up this book." —Nisma Elias, Comparative Education Review

"Well researched and timely, this diverse analysis of educational dynamics and problems in the Arab World covers lots of new ground." —Pete W. Moore, Case Western Reserve University


Despite substantial spending on education and robust support for reform both internally and by external donors, the quality of education in many, if not most, Arab countries remains low. Which raises the question: why?

The authors of The Political Economy of Education in the Arab World find answers in the authoritarian political economies that shape the architecture of national governance across the region. Presenting studies from North Africa and the Gulf region, as well as comparative perspectives from Asia and Latin America, they show clearly that efforts to improve education—and thereby enhance economic development and broaden the base of citizenship on which more stable and effective systems of governance can be built—will fail until ruling elites are no longer able to increase their political and economic power at the expense of the greater good.


Hicham Alaoui is research associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. Robert Springborg is a nonresident research fellow of the Italian Institute of International Affairs and adjunct professor in the School of International Studies at Simon Fraser University.


  • The Political Economy of Education in the Arab World—H. Alaoui and R. Springborg.
  • Democracy and Education—I. Diwan.
  • Citizenship in Egyptian, Tunisian, and Moroccan History Textbooks—R. Meijer.
  • University Reforms in Egypt and Morocco—F. Kohstall.
  • Education Policy in Sisi's Egypt—R. Springborg.
  • The Impact of Poverty and Corruption on Educational Quality in Tunisia—L.J. Benstead.
  • US University Campuses in the Gulf Monarchies—C.M. Davidson.
  • Foreign Scholarship Programs in Algeria and Saudi Arabia—A. Hamaizia and A. Leber.
  • Lessons from Latin America—M.S. Grindle.
  • Lessons from East Asia—A. Jones.
  • The Challenges of Educational Reform in the Arab World—H. Alaoui and R. Springborg.