Publication: Expectations and Aspirations: A New Framework for Education in the Middle East and North Africa

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Krafft, Caroline
Education has a large untapped potential to contribute to human capital, well-being, and wealth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It had been at the heart of the region’s history and civilizations for centuries. The region invested heavily in education for decades but has not been able to reap the benefits of its investments. Despite series of reforms, the region remained stuck in a low learning – low skills level. There are four key sets of tensions that are holding back education in the MENA region. These tensions: Credentials and skills, discipline and inquiry, control and autonomy, and tradition and modernity are shaped by society and are reflected in schools and classrooms. If not addressed, MENA will continue to operate below its potential. Addressing these tensions and unleashing the potential of education requires a new framework with a three-pronged approach: A concerted push for learning that starts early for all children regardless of background, with qualified and motivated educators that leverages technology and uses modern approaches and monitors learning. It also requires a stronger pull for skills by all stakeholders in the labor market and society and involves coordinated multi-system reforms within and outside the education system. Finally, it requires a new pact for education at a national level with a unified vision, shared responsibilities and accountabilities. Education is everyone’s business and not just the responsibility of the education system. The push, pull, pact framework offers an opportunity for the MENA region to charge forward and reclaim its heritage of a learned region and meet the expectations and aspirations of its people. The current situation in MENA requires a renewed focus on education not just as a national priority for economic growth and social development but as a national emergency for stability, peace and prosperity.
El-Kogali, Safaa El Tayeb; Krafft, Caroline. 2020. Expectations and Aspirations; Ambitions et aspirations d’une région; Expectations and Aspirations: A New Framework for Education in the Middle East and North Africa : A New Framework for Education in the Middle East and North Africa; un nouveau cadre pour l’éducation au Moyen-Orient et en Afrique du Nord. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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