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22 May 2024

World Bank cautions Arab world over poor education

By Staff Writer


A stark warning about the need to improve education in Arab countries has been issued by the World Bank.


The Arab world is falling behind other regions – and urgent reform is needed to provide better quality tuition to tackle unemployment, said officials in a report.


Arab states should make the improvement of education their top priority because it goes hand-in-hand with economic development. Jordan and Kuwait are rated top educational performers in the region, while Djibouti, Yemen, Iraq and Morocco are ranked the worst in terms of access, efficiency and quality. Though education is becoming more accessible and the gender gap is being reduced, the region has not witnessed the positive changes seen in Asia and Latin America.


The growth in literacy rates and enrolment in secondary schools and universities is low, it said. Marwan Muasher, the bank’s Senior Vice-President for external affairs, said educational reform needs top priority if the region’s youth were to be better equipped in a fast-changing world.


“The time has come for countries to focus their energies on the quality of education and make sure students are equipped with what they need for the labour market now – the ability to solve problems, critical thinking and innovation.”


Unemployment in the Arab world averaged 14 per cent – higher than the rest of the world apart from Sub-Saharan Africa. The Palestinian territories came highest with nearly 26 per cent.