The Arab World’s Greatest Shame

The World Bank has said the quality of education in the Arab world is falling behind other regions and needs urgent reform if it is to tackle unemployment.

…The report concluded that Jordan and Kuwait were the top educational reformers in the region, while Djibouti, Yemen, Iraq and Morocco ranked lowest in terms of access, efficiency and quality of education. [source]

If Jordan is at the top of the bracket, then suffice to say, the Arab World is in big, big, big trouble. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: education is our only silver bullet.

The Report (PDF)

11 Comments

  • “If Jordan is at the top of the bracket, then suffice to say, the Arab World is in big, big, big trouble. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: education is our only silver bullet.”

    this statement, unfortunately, is true. Our educational system is a crumbled one. I’ve always questioned how important it is to have citizens who are satisfied with the least they can get out of an already weak educational system. And yes, education is supposed to equip us with apriration and inspiration; that is when it becomes our silver bullet! but unfortunetely in it’s recent form, education is ony a random bullet, firing back on it’s holder!

  • Educational reform should start from the top down, meaning with university rectors, ministry officials, and the like. Having two sisters who teach at Jordanian universities, I have heard SO many stories of corruption, nepotism, embezzlement, and a host of other scandals. Studying in Jordan, I lived some of these experiences myself.

    Why does this continue to happen in our educational facilities? Because there is no sense of duty, and no sense of respect to the unenforced law. Until these things are either grown into us or enforced upon us, nothing will change.

    How come nobody has been tried in the cases of school food poisoning? How come nobody was held accountable for the confused annual changes in the Tawjihi system? How come nobody was held accountable for the tremendous financial losses and incompetence of public universities? Why is it that it is OK for these universities to overlook the inability of their professors to produce quality research? (JU produced a poor 100 research papers last year)

    I tell you, for reform to take shape, some heads must roll.

  • “some heads must roll.”
    If a head rolls, then all the top will roll, you know it is like a gang..
    You should hear some of the stories about university presidents, oh i mean the ranch owners..Sometimes you just pause and wonder: “Who controls the country?” Then the pause goes away and you say:” who cares, they are all the same”

    But to be honest, there have been enormous efforts to enhance the education at schools with the help of USAID..And by the way most of the kuwaiti curriciulum was designed, directed,and produced in jordan.

  • One Harvard prof offered this fact:

    400 million Arabs throughout the Middle East and North Africa publish fewer scientific articles in international journals every year than do the five million people in Israel.

    That seems problematic. It certainly supports the findings of this article.

  • We can talk all we want about education, identify problems and come up with solutions, and invent mechanisms, but at the end of the day, it will come down to two things:

    (1) on the macro level, we will still be a 3rd world country with less than limited resources to actually put in place effective mechanisms that would yield results that could improve what you read about us in these reports.

    (2) on the micro level, it will still come down to the individual who, as long as (1) holds, will continue to do his/her best to serve themselves and those in their close circle. nepotism will still plague our society and deprive all people from a fair chance in improving their life through education.

    There is absolutely no way Jordan can improve unless it is part of a strong regional economic alliance. Right now, the politics of the region is the only thing that stands in the way of this happening.

  • “There is absolutely no way Jordan can improve unless it is part of a strong regional economic alliance. Right now, the politics of the region is the only thing that stands in the way of this happening.”

    Hamzeh N,,I absolutely agree with you ,

    What happened to the racist slogan we see in bill boards all over Jordan “Jordan First”
    long live Arab Unity,and forget and abolish all fake boarders that colonial countries have imposed on us and enforced by “our” leaders.

  • really selective one,

    really we are in a dirty game, pushing all youth to leave the Mental field and go to the physical one, as to cover the demand of the local market , while it is non-clever suggestions to break the hope of building future and push them to thing how they may make their day with much money. self destruction !!!!

  • When you have famous columnists downplaying the value of research in the middle east. Branding it useless, and wasteful!
    When most of the Arabs outside the region suddenly strike success, while they themselves know that had they stayed back home, they would have achieved nothing
    You will know that this issue is not only there on the educational and social level but there are culprits on the highest level… Conspiracy? maybe!

    We don’t need 400 million PHD holders. But we do want 1 million of those to at least do something, be supported and encouraged to get somewhere instead of frustrated and expelled

    Maybe then we’ll raise a set of good examples for the rest of the 400mil to follow, instead of following Haifa!

  • there is a huge problem w edu in the Arab world and Jordan– but there r also lots of grassroots orgs that help you get involved to help change the edu systm. Look for them.sign up. Improve the outcomes.

  • Imagine if every Arab was connected to the internet.
    Imagine if every Arab entered a daily entry to contribute to online Arabic content.
    Imagine if every Arab creator/organization/business recorded and uploaded the audio/video of their training/expertise/work.
    Imagine if all these people evolved an online lifestyle where they shared knowledge and know-how towards their goals.
    Imagine an online content haven for Arab children from birth onwards.

    Reform is a scary word – it misleads us to believe that something can actually be fixed, which sends us into a downward spiral when we’re trying to deal with what is really unfixable!

    I don’t think education in the Arab world can be reformed. We need a whole new solution, and I certainly don’t claim to know details of the what and the how, but I’m pretty sure about the who.

    These are peer-to-peer times. We need to build a whole new empire for education. And it’s got to be far away from the crumbling education system that exists lest we suffocate under the debris, contributing to nothing else but more rubbish!

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