Despite paying lip service to reform, many Arab nations’ education programs fail to prepare students to become contributing members of open, pluralistic systems.
While Qatar and Lebanon fared well in the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report, the study's reliance on business executive assessments casts doubt on the accuracy of its education rankings.
Furthering the cause of democracy in the Middle East requires realistic, pragmatic U.S. leadership to encourage reform and promote the development of civil society in the region.
Egypt must undertake a number of fundamental and difficult reforms to improve its overburdened, underperforming public university system.
With the rise of Islamists across the Arab world, there is a possibility that the new parties in power will update education curricula to reflect conservative Islamic beliefs.
A shift in the nature of Arab educational systems toward incentivizing technical and vocational training is one possible long-term solution to the problem of unemployment among the youth of the Arab world.
The Islamist ascent to power in parts of the Arab world has stirred up concerns about the effect this Islamist rise might have on education in the region.
Absent a good education environment, there is little room for the Arab world’s youth to turn into responsible citizens who can consolidate and stimulate social transformation to bring about more prosperous and free societies.
Unless Cairo acts to promote tolerance and understanding of various religious identities to truly build a democratic, pluralistic society, sectarian conflict will continue to plague Egypt.
Arab countries will only become economically competitive and reliably democratic if they start teaching youth to think critically and respect different points of view.