Denis Joseph Sullivan
David E. Schmitt, Yoram Meital
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Department of Political Science.
Education Reform, Neo-Institutionalism
Educational change, Democratization, Egypt
Other Education | Political Science
The education system in Egypt is widely regarded as corrupt and ineffective, and calls for drastic reform are long-standing. Education reform has taken on a heightened importance due to the political developments that began in 2011. This study attempts to contribute to an understanding of the political, social and economic challenges that need to be overcome in order for education to better promote an environment for social justice and equitable economic growth as Egyptians work towards establishing a free, stable and prosperous society. There are many studies written about education reform in Egypt, but this study is unique in the way it utilizes all three strands of the neo-institutionalist approach: the historical, rational and cultural.
The study analyzed the role of education reform in the Egyptian state from Muhammad Ali until Mubarak, within the context of a state-society framework. The central argument is that elite and mass resistance to education reform was due principally to a desire to maintain the status quo. Each did so for their own reasons. The ruling elite wanted to maintain economic and political privileges and prevent the masses from exercising self-determination, whereas the masses were suspicious of changes that might increase state power and make greater demands upon their limited resources. Many were also suspicious of changes that would "contaminate" their culture with "Western" values that had historically been promoted by the elite.
The underlying purpose of the study is to show how education reform has prevented liberalization of the political system. Since the 19th century, Egyptian leaders have been largely unsuccessful in maintaining legitimacy. Though Egypt saw many different rulers and political changes during this time period, one notable feature is continuous: the lack of education reforms that would promote freedom and engagement. Despite nearly a century of criticism for its system being overly centralized and its curriculum being insufficiently critical, the leaders have not made any significant progress towards alleviating these problems. Reforms supported by the elite tend to be superficial reforms that bolster their authority with minimal risk to a change in the status quo.
Heather K. Browne
Browne, Heather K., "Education reform in Egypt: reinforcement & resistance" (2011). Political Science Dissertations. Paper 7. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20002068
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