Publication Date: 2008
Author/Publisher: World Bank
The Road Not Traveled: Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa Region
evaluates the impact of past investment in education in the region and proposes a new approach to future education reforms. The book shows that the region has invested heavily in education, and was able to make remarkable progress. Most eligible children, boys and girls, are now enrolled at different levels of instruction. Fertility and infant mortality rates as well as life expectancy have all improved. However, the contribution of past investments in education to economic growth, poverty reduction and income distribution were modest. Moreover, the education systems are not fully prepared to deal with the increasing role of knowledge in economic development, an emerging youth bulge and the growing financial constraints on expending education. Nor are most economies of the region prepared to absorb an increasingly educated labor force in dynamic and productive sectors. Thus, the region must travel a new road.
This new road has two pillars: the first is an approach to education reform that focuses on incentives and public accountability, beside the education process itself; the other emphasizes closing the gap between the supply of educated individuals and labor demand both internally and externally.
Despite its density and rich economic content, the book is intended to be read, discussed and utilized by a diverse and wide regional audience, including policy-makers, civil society and academia, both inside and outside the education sector.