Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MPI-MMG)
Why do some countries undertake meaningful learning reforms while others do not? This paper engages with the literature on the political drivers of the adoption of learning reforms in developing countries, parsing out the role of regime type and democracy, coalitions for reform, ideas about equity and international dimensions relating to debt and aid. In so doing, it questions the distinction between politically ‘easy’ (access) and ‘difficult’ (learning) reforms, and underlines the necessity of greater differentiation in the characterization of the causes and responses to the global learning crisis. Applying these insights to the case of Egypt, the paper addresses the political drivers of education policy-making over the previous two decades, provides novel analysis of the learning crisis in the country and surveys expert views on the recently adopted education reforms (Edu 2.0). Interviews with leading experts and practitioners of Egyptian education from a range of local and international institutions, including the World Bank and USAID, are used to add texture and depth to the analysis of the learning crisis and to assess the extent of consensus around the goals of the reforms. As such, the paper addresses a recent incidence of the adoption of the current global learning agenda in terms of alignment, privatization, digitalization and deskilling. It underlines the weak potential for such reforms to create substantial improvements in learning (except for the most privileged segments of students) or to create consensus among sector leaders, in the context of inattention to equitable learning and under conditions of heightened austerity.
Sobhy, H. 2023. Reforms for Another Planet: The Global Learning Crisis, Political Drivers and Expert Views on Egypt’s Edu 2.0. Research on Improving Systems of Education. PE06. https://doi.org/10.35489/BSG-RISE-2023/PE06