Basic education—considered essential for building democratic societies and competitive economies—has headed the agendas of development agencies in recent years. During the same period, Egypt topped the lists of recipients of development assistance and proclaimed education to be its national project. In Transforming Education in Egypt, political scientist Fatma Sayed explains how Egyptian domestic political actors have interacted with and reacted to international development aid to Egypt’s educational system, particularly when that aid is linked to sensitive issues of reform and cultural change. In recent years, international donors have called for changes that are inconsistent with the functions, structures and culture of Egyptian institutions, resulting in a climate of suspicion surrounding foreign aid to education. In this penetrating analysis, Sayed looks at how problems are diagnosed and reforms implemented and resisted. As Sayed demonstrates, the low level of ownership and consensus among the various domestic actors and the failure to establish strategic coalitions to support the reforms result in poor implementation and incomplete internalization. Policy makers have to date not succeeded in achieving the minimum level of domestic consensus essential for embedding the values and culture that bring about true reform. From the debate over free education to conspiracy theories and the evolving definition of international norms, this book sheds new light on the conflict of ideas that surrounds donor-sponsored reforms.
Subjects: Education, Sociology
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