Trajectories of Education in the Arab World

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1 Trajectories of Education in the Arab World Trajectories of Education in the Arab World gives a broad yet detailed historical and geographical overview of education in Arab countries. Drawing on pre-modem and modem educational concepts, systems, and practices in the Arab world, this book examines the impact of Western cultural influence, the opportunities for reform and the sustainability of current initiatives. The contributors bring together analyses and case studies of educational standards and structures in the Arab world, from the classical Islamic period to contemporary local and international efforts to re-define the changing needs and purposes of Arab education in the contexts of modernization, multiculturalism, and globalization. Taking a thematic and chronological approach, the first section contrasts the traditional notions, approaches, and standards of education with the changes that were initiated or imposed by European influences in the nineteenth century. The chapters then focus on the role of modem state-based educational systems in constructing and preserving national identities, cultures, and citizenries, and concentrates on the role of education in state-formation and the reproduction of socio-political hierarchies. The success of educational reforms and policy-making is then assessed, offering perspectives on future trends and prospects for generating institutional and organizational change. This book will be of interest to graduate and postgraduate students and scholars of education, history, Arab and Islamic history and the Middle East and North Africa. Osama Abi-Mershed is Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University, where he currently teaches classes on the medieval and modern histories of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Western Mediterranean world. His current research focuses on the ideologies of modernity and the processes of cultural transformation in colonial Algeria.

2 Routledge Advances in Middle East and Islamic Studies Iraqi Kurdistan Political development and emergent democracy Gareth R V. Stansfield 2 Egypt in the Twenty First Century Challenges for development Edited by M. Riad El-Ghonemy 3 The Christian-Muslim Frontier A zone of contact, conflict or cooperation Mario Apostolov 4 The Islamic World-System A study in polity-market interaction Masudul Alam Choudhury 5 Regional Security in the Middle East A critical perspective Pinar Bilgin 6 Political Thought in Islam A study in intellectual boundaries Nelly Lahoud 7 Turkey's Kurds A theoretical analysis of the PKK and Abdullah Ocalan Ali Kemal Ozcan 8 Beyond the Arab Disease New perspectives in politics and culture Riad Nourallah 9 The Arab Diaspora Voices of an anguished scream Zahia Smail Salhi and Ian Richard Netton 10 Gender and Self in Islam Etin Anwar 11 Nietzsche and Islam Roy Jackson 12 The Baha'is of Iran Socio-historical studies Dominic Parvis Brookshaw and Seena B. Fazel 13 Egypt's Culture Wars Politics and practice Samia Mehrez 14 Islam and Human Rights in Practice Perspectives across the Ummah Edited by Shahram Akbarzadeh and Benjamin MacQueen 15 Family in the Middle East Ideational change in Egypt, Iran and Tunisia Edited by Kathryn M Yount and Hoda Rashad 16 Syria's Kurds History, politics and society Jordi Tejel 17 Trajectories of Education in the Arab World Legacies and challenges Edited by Osama Abi-Mershed

3 Trajectories of Education in the Arab World Legacies and challenges Edited by Osama Abi-Mershed Published in Association with the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University I~ ~~~;~;n~~;up LONDON AND NEW YORK

4 First published 2010 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OXI4 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group. an informa business 2010 The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University Typeset in Times NR by Graphieraft Limited, Hong Kong Printed and bound in Great Britain by MPG Books Group, UK All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronie, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Trajectories of education in the Arab world: legacies and challenges I edited by Osama Abi-Mershed. p. cm. - (Routledge advances in Middle East and Islamic studies ; I 7) "Published in Association with the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University." Includes bibliographical references and index. I. Education-Arab countries. I. Abi-Mcrshed, Osama. II. Georgetown University. Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. LA1491.T '4927-dc22 ISBNIO: (hbk) ISBNIO: (ebk) ISBN13: (hbk) ISBN13: (ebk)

5 Contents List offigures and tables Notes on contributors Acknowledgments vii viii xiv Introduction: the politics of Arab educational refonns OSAMA ABI MERSHED PART I Historical perspectives 13 1 The principles of instruction are the grounds of our knowledge: AI-Firibfs philosophical and al-ghazili's spiritual approaches to learning 15 SEBASTIAN GUNTHER 2 Between the "golden age" and the Renaissance: Islamic higher education in eighteenth-century Damascus 36 STEVE TAMARI 3 "If the Devil taught French": strategies of language and learning in French mandate Beirut 59 NADYA SBAITI 4 "According to a logic befitting the Arab soul": cultural policy and popular education in Morocco since SPENCER SEGALLA

6 vi Contents PART II Education and the post-colonial state Public institutions of religious education in Egypt and Tunisia: contrasting the post-colonial reforms of AI-Azhar and the Zaytuna MALIKA ZEGHAL Palestinian education in a virtual state 125 NUBAR HOVSEPIAN 7 Language-in-education policies in contemporary Lebanon: youth perspectives 157 ZEENA ZAKHARIA 8 Education as a humanitarian response as applied to the Arab world, with special reference to the Palestinian case 185 COLIN BROCK AND LALA DEMIRDJlAN PART 1II Education and socio-political development: reform, pojicy, and practice Naming the imaginary: "building an Arab knowledge society" and the contested terrain of educational reforms for development ANDRE ELIAS MAZAWI 20 I 10 An introduction to Qatar's primary and secondary education reform 226 DOMINIC J. BREWER AND CHARLES A. GOLDMAN 11 Observations from the edge of the deluge: are we going too far, too fast in our educational transformation in the Arab Gulf? 247 MUNIR BASHSHUR Index 273

7 Figures and tables Figure 11.1 "These tables should be round. The tables at Deerfield are round," the King said. 263 Tables 3.1 Average number of hours of French-language instruction per school per week in Lebanon, according to region, Selected attributes of the Palestinian affiliative order Distribution of Beirut schools by languages of instruction, Comparison of design options on key dimensions Comparison of schools in terms of provisions, services, activities, and parental involvement, and Comparison of schools in terms of household size, educational qualification of parents, and household expenditures and resources, and Comparison of schools in terms of hours of teaching, teachers', and principals' opinions and satisfaction, and A verage class time (in hours and percentage) per week per subject for the primary, preparatory, and secondary levels combined, and Use of Arabic as the language of instruction in schools, and Student enrollment in four-year post-secondary institutions in Qatar,

8 Notes on contributors Osama Abi-Mershed is Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University, where he currently teaches classes on the medieval and modern histories of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Western Mediterranean world. He holds a Ph.D. in history (2003), an M.A. in international affairs (1997), and an M.B.A. in international finance (1988). His past publications include "The Transmission of Knowledge and the Education of the Ulama in the Late Sixteenth-Century Maghrib," in Auto/Biography and the Construction ofidentity and Community in the Middle East, edited by Mary Ann Fay (St. Martin's Press, 2001); "Degrees of Interpretive Autonomy: Ijtihad and the Constraints of Competence and Context in Late Medieval Tilimsan," in the Journal ofislam and Muslim-Christian Relations (2001); and "The Second Algerian Crisis, : Algeria in the Memory of France," in the Arab Studies Journal (1999). Abi-Mershed has recently completed his forthcoming book, Apostles of Modernity: Saint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria, to be published by Stanford University Press in Munir Bashshur received his B.A. (1956) and M.A. (1958) from the American University of Beirut (AUB), and a Ph.D. in comparative education from the University of Chicago (1964). He is currently Professor of Education at AUB, where he has been teaching since He has occupied various administrative positions there, and has been part of a range of commissions to different Arab states sponsored by regional as well as international organizations, such as ALECSO, UNESCO, and UNICEF. Bashshur is also a member of the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research, and Knowledge, and is President of the Lebanese Association of Educational Studies. He has several publications in Arabic and English, the most recent being Higher Education in the Arab States (UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, 2004). Dominic J. Brewer is Clifford H. and Betty C. Allen Professor in Urban Leadership and Professor of Education, Economics, and Policy at the University of Southern California (USC). He holds a B.A. in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University, a Master's in economics from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. in labor economics from Cornell

9 Notes on contributors University. He is a labor economist specializing in the economics of education and education policy. Before joining USC in 2005, he was Vice President at the RAND Corporation, directing its education policy research program for over five years. Brewer has overseen major projects focusing on educational productivity and teacher issues in both K-12 and higher education. His publications include In Pursuit of Prestige, a book on competition in higher education, and multiple articles in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, the Journal of Human Resources, the Journal oflabor Economics, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, among others. Brewer is one of the authors of Rhetoric Versus Reality: What We Know and What We Need to Know About Vouchers and Charter Schools (2001; 2007), and his work on class size includes a review of the research literature published in Scientific American. He most recently spearheaded RAND's effort to assist in major K-12 reform in the Emirate of Qatar, the centerpiece of which is a system of charter-like government-funded schools; a book detailing this effort, Educationfor a New Era, was published in Brewer is currently a co-editor of the economics section of the International Encyclopedia of Education. Colin Brock is UNESCO Chair in Education as a Humanitarian Response in the Department of Education at Oxford University, where he is also a Fellow of St Hugh's College. He graduated in geography and anthropology from the University of Durham, and spent ten years as a high school teacher before moving into the university world as Lecturer in Geography. After two years as British Education Adviser in the Caribbean Region, he moved into the fields ofinternational educational development and comparative education, and has held appointments in these areas at the Universities of Leeds, Hull, and now Oxford. He has worked on development projects for all the main multilateral agencies as well as the UK Ministry of International Development in many parts ofthe developing world, especially Africa and South Asia. More recently, he has been working in China and the Middle East, and has convened a series of seminars at St Antony's College in Oxford on "Education in the Middle East." The seminars were published in 2007 as a volume in the Oxford Studies in Comparative Education Series, co-edited with Lila Zia Levers. Brock has authored or edited approximately thirty books and ninety articles, chapters, and research reports, mostly in the field of international educational development. Lala Demirdjian received her RA. from Beirut's Haigazian University and her M.Sc in comparative and international education from Oxford University. The title of her dissertation was "The Case of Palestinian Refugee Education in Lebanon." She has worked for such organizations as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the NGO Welfare Association, where she served as campaign coordinator for a donor conference to help reconstruct the Nahr el-bared refugee camp. She also worked with the National Association for ix

10 x Notes on contributors Vocational Training and Social Services (NA VTSS) in Lebanon, where she developed a syllabus for training drop-out Palestinian students and youth to develop their capacities and enhance their professional insertion. She currently teaches at the Armenian School of San Francisco, where she is developing a curriculum on Armenian identity and character education. Charles A. Goldman is an economist specializing in the analysis of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education in a number of countries. He holds a Bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in economic analysis and policy from Stanford University. As Associate Director of RAND Education, he is responsible for the oversight of RAND's international education project portfolio, which includes current work in and about Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Lebanon, Mexico, South Korea, China, India, and both Western and Eastern Europe. He oversees RAND Education's efforts to assist the government of Qatar expand high-quality options for schooling at all levels, working with a large team of colleagues from RAND and other organizations. His recent major monographs and books include Education for a New Era; Building a Successful Palestinian State; In Pursuit of Prestige; The Ph.D. Factory; and Paying for University Research Facilities and Administration. Prior to joining RAND in 1993, Goldman held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Stanford School of Education. Sebastian Gunther is Professor and Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Gottingen, Germany. He has held prior appointments at the University of Toronto and the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, as well as continuing visiting professorships at American University of Beirut, AI-Azhar University of Cairo, and the United Arab Emirates University, Abu Dhabi. Gunther's research focuses on the intellectual heritage of Islam from the classical period, in particular the Qur'an, religious and philosophical thought, and Arabic literature. His most recent publications include "AI-Khattabi's Critique of the State of ReJigious Learning in Tenthcentury Islam," in the American Journal of Muslim Social Scientists (2008); "Be Masters in That You Teach and Continue to Learn: Medieval Muslim Thinkers on Educational Theory," in Comparative Education Review (2006); and the edited volume Ideas, Images, and Methods ofportrayal: Insights into Classical Arabic Literature and Islam (Brill, 2005). GUnther is currently writing a book on Islam's classical philosophies of education. Nubar Hovsepian is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. He recently published Palestinian State Formation: Education and the Construction of National Identity (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008), and edited and contributed to The War on Lebanon (Interlink Publishers, 2008). He is presently working on the book Edward W Said' The Politics of a Public Intellectual. He has also written and edited four books in Arabic, most notably on the Iranian

11 Notes on contributors revolution of 1979, and has published articles in professional journals, newspapers, and magazines in various parts of the world. Hovsepian has devoted enormous time to the Israel/Palestine conflict, and served, from 1982 to 1984, as Political Affairs Officer for the United Nations Conference on the Question of Palestine. Andre Elias Mazawi is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. His field of interest is in the area of education and higher education policy, with particular reference to the Middle East. Mazawi also serves as associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Higher Education and as a member of the Executive Editorial Board of the Mediterranean Journal ofeducational Studies. His latest studies include: "Contrasting Perspectives on Higher Education Governance in the Arab States," in the Handbook of Higher Education: Theory and Research (2005); "State Power, Faculty Recruitment and the Emergence of Constituencies in Saudi Arabia," in Education in the Muslim World' Different Perspectives An Overview, edited by R. Griffin (Symposium Books, 2006); "Globalization, Development, and the Politics of Knowledge and Learning in the Arab States," in Concepts of Knowledge and Learning-The Learning Society in Europe and Beyond, edited by Michael Kuhn and Ronald Sultana (Peter Lang, 2006); "'Knowledge Society' or Work as 'Spectacle'? Education for Work and the Prospects of Social Transformation in Arab Societies," in Educating the Global Workforce: Knowledge, Knowledge Work and Knowledge Workers, edited by Lesley Farrell and Tara Fenwick (Routledge, 2007); "Besieging the King's Tower? En/gendering Academic Opportunities in the Gulf Arab States," in Aspects ofeducation in the Middle East and North Africa, edited by C. Brock and L. Zia Levers (Symposium Books, 2007); and "Policy Politics of Higher Education in the Gulf Cooperation Council Member States: Intersections of Globality, Regionalism and Locality," in Higher Education in the Gulf States: Shaping Economies, Politics and Culture, edited by C. Davidson and P. Mackenzie Smith (AI-Saqi Books in association with The London Middle East Institute at SOAS, 2008). Nadya Sbaiti is Five College Assistant Professor of History, based at Smith College. She is currently working on a manuscript based on her dissertation, entitled, Lessons in History: Gender, Education, and Nation in Lebanon. She is also co-editor of the Arab Studies Journal, a peer-reviewed academic publication. Spencer Segalla is Assistant Professor at the State University of New York's Nassau Community College. His current research focuses on issues of decolonization and transitions to postcoloniality in North Africa. His first book, The Moroccan Soul: French Education, Colonial Ethnology, and Muslim Resistance, , was published by Nebraska University Press in March He has also published in the Journal of North African Studies, French Colonial History, and the Edith Wharton Review. xi

12 xii Notes on contributors Steve Tamari is Associate Professor in the Department of Historical Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He earned his Ph.D. from Georgetown University in His dissertation is entitled "Teaching and Learning in Eighteenth-Century Damascus: Localism and Ottomanism in an Early Modern Arab Society." The focus of his current research is on the politics of identity in sixteenth- through eighteenth-century Syria. Zeena Zakharia is Lecturer in international and comparative education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her scholarly interests include educational policy and research within conflict/post-war and development contexts, particularly among minoritized populations. She has over fifteen years of experience in educational development practice and research among diverse communities in the Middle East and has published on related topics. She holds a doctorate in international educational development from Teachers College, Columbia University. Malika Zeghal is Associate Professor of the Anthropology and Sociology of Religion at the University of Chicago's Divinity School. She graduated from the Ecole Normale Superieure and received her Ph.D. from the Institut d'etudes Politiques in Paris. Zeghal is a political scientist who studies religion through the lens of Islam and power. She is particularly interested in Islamist movements and the institutionalization of Islam in the Muslim world, with a special focus on Egypt and North Africa in the postcolonial period and on Muslim diasporas in North America and Western Europe. She has published a study of central religious institutions in Egypt, Gardiens de {'Islam. Les oummas d'al-azhar dans l'egypte contemporaine (Presses des Sciences Po, 1996), and a volume on Morocco, Islamism in Morocco: Religion, Authoritarianism, and Electoral Politics (Markus Wiener, 2008), which won the French Voices-Pen American Center Award. She has edited with Marc Gaboriau a special issue of the French review Archives des Sciences Sociales des Religions entitled "Autorites religieuses en Islam" (2004), on religious authorities in Islam, as well as a special issue of the Revue des Mondes Musulmans et de la Mediterranee, entitled "Intellectuels de I'islam contemporain. Nouvelles generations, nouveaux debats" (2008), on new intellectual debates in contemporary Islam. She is now working on a book on states, secularism, and Islam in the contemporary Arab world, forthcoming at Princeton University Press.

13 Introduction The politics of Arab educational reforms Osama Abi-M ershed The present volume is the distillation of two international conferences on education in the Arab world held by Georgetown University in , primarily in response to the completion of the first series of the United Nations Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) in 2005 (UNDP ). Since highlighting the Arab world's critical deficits in "knowledge, freedom, and women's empowerment" in 2002, the AHDRs have annually pointed to the unequal standards of education in Arab countries as primary factors in their lagging development relative to the rest of the world. Specifically, the reports have identified the limited educational opportunities and deficiencies in the "acquisition, dissemination, production and utilization" of knowledge as the "major predicaments" confronting Arab societies in the twenty-first century. They have moreover warned against the adverse consequences of more restricted access for Arab and Muslim students to Western academies of learning in the wake of the events of September 11, As noted by the authors of the AHDRs, these findings stand in stark contrast to the Arab world's celebrated historical record in advancing human knowledge, and its "rich and time-tested intellectual tradition" in a broad range of scientific, philosophical, and socio-cultural disciplines. The verdicts of the AHDRs, combined with the heightened interest of the United States in educational reforms in the Muslim world after September 2001, prompted the Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) to dedicate its 2006 international symposium to an assessment of past and ongoing Arab educational initiatives. The conference on "The Politics of Education in the Arab World," held in March, gathered a host of scholars and specialists with distinguished careers in Arab and Muslim education. The panelists were invited to explore the varied sociohistorical contexts for Arab learning and knowledge production, and to contrast Arab pedagogical concepts and conventions in the pre-modern and modern eras. In April 2007, CCAS was involved again in organizing an international conference on Arab education in partnership with the Georgetown University Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) in Doha, Qatar, where a comprehensive effort to upgrade national learning institutions has been underway since This second symposium, entitled "Education

14 2 Osama Abi-Mershed and Change in Qatar and the Arab World," re-convened experts in the field with the express purpose of engaging directly with a local audience of public officials, policy-makers, and concerned citizens on the validity of the ambitious Qatari reforms as a model for the wider Arab world. Educational institutions, by their centrality to the formation of national consciousness and the reproduction of socio-economic relations, are inherent sites for political contests between various official and private actors, as well as domestic or foreign interests. In the context of Arab societies, however, the broader contentions over the direction and intent of educational renewal have been rendered more acute by international developments and policies since Thus, a primary motivation in organizing the conferences was to facilitate and moderate constructive exchanges between scholars and policy-makers in the field ofeducation, and to juxtapose the theoretical frameworks of the former with the pragmatic experiences of the latter. The panelists' diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise resulted in the presentation of wide-ranging perspectives on Arab education, from historical and sociological studies to political or empirical reviews of ongoing regional efforts to renovate educational systems. By the same token, however, the panelists' contrasting approaches and different frames of reference tended also to accentuate the ideological dissonance that afflicts the debate on recent trends in Arab education. Indeed, key disagreements separated the academic panelists on one side from the policy-makers or practitioners of education on the other. While the latter as a group tended to gauge educational efficacy according to economic indicators and in terms of socio-political "modernization," they were countered by scholars for whom the implementation ofwestern educational norms and structures reverberated with echoes of cultural imperialism and threats to national sovereignty and identity. The general consensus among conference participants with regards to the glaring deficiencies in Arab education withered once their attention shifted to proposed remedies for the shortcomings. Magnifying the disciplinary divide between "theory" and "policy," in other words, were conflicting discourses on the utility of educational re-organization in the Arab world. At the risk of simplification, I categorize these alternative readings of the objectives of the reforms under three headings: education as an economic sector; education as a national interest; education as a security concern. As the chapters in this book will hopefully convey to the reader, in the context of the Arab world, these three sets of educational priorities have yet to fully engage with one another. I now turn to a brief overview of the main lines of contention concerning the Arab educational reforms as they relate to each heading, for they constitute the inevitable political backdrop against which the chapters in this volume must be read. Education, development, and global competitiveness The definitive statement at the conferences on the weak or negligible contributions of the education sector to Arab economic development

15 Introduction 3 was delivered by World Bank specialists principally involved in drafting the institution's Flagship Report on Education in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Although their individual papers are not reprinted here, their empirical analyses of the persistent cleavages between education and development in the Arab world were subsequently expounded in the much anticipated MENA Development Report of February 2008, The Road Not Traveled' Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa. The Report details the various factors behind the MENA's educational shortfalls in relation to comparable regions, with low aggregate levels of human capital accumulation and soaring unemployment rates hindering the capacity of individual countries to capitalize "fully on past investments in education, let alone develop education systems capable of meeting new challenges." The MENA region, the Report concludes emphatically, "needs to travel a new road... [with] a new approach to education reform in which the focus is on incentives and public accountability, besides the education process itself" (World Bank 2008: 1-5). StilI, the World Bank's prescription of educational reforms for development prompted critical differences of opinion with regards to the ramifications of such a course of action for Arab polities and societies. For a number of contributors to this volume, the assessment of educational quality and efficacy from the perspective of the logistical requirements of the global economy -and with scant notice to the unequal international relations of poweroverlooks the disenfranchising impact of such prerequisites on national educational institutions and practices. The detractors point to the World Bank's advocacy of a singular "road to reform," despite the noted variations within the Arab world, as evidence of disregard for the differentiated national education systems. The indiscriminate implementation of such policies for development, they contend, would harness the content and form of Arab education to global institutions with the mandate to promote and normalize particular forms of knowledge, which in turn would serve to sustain an overarching economic and pqlitical order, and thus suborn Arab educational programs to the interests of local and foreign governments. Education, the nation, and citizenship formation Concurrently, a number of panelists challenged the implicit understanding of the knowledge society as ultimately a national community. Their critique, however, is not to be taken as straightforward advocacy for a universal curriculum of instruction, nor as disagreement with the integrality of national educational systems to the making of state citizens. Their object, rather, is to explore avenues for studying the history of Arab education independently of the constricting paradigms of "modernizing" or "nationalizing" projects. Accordingly, they call into question the conceptualization of modernity as a Western construct, intrinsically in opposition and superior to indigenous traditions. In disputing the accepted notion of "modernity" as a radical

16 4 Osama Abi-Mershed rupture with "tradition," they propose an approach more inclusive of indigenous norms and independent of Eurocentric narratives of Arab history. Their studies, for example, highlight important continuities in the longstanding preoccupation of Arabo-Muslim elites and intellectuals with local educational initiatives. Long before the advent of modernity and the rise of nation states, Arabo-Muslim schools were regarded as the establishments through which to constitute communal identities, define legitimate forms of knowledge, and determine how these were to be socially and materially rewarded. To this extent, this group of scholars is particularly sensitive to the legacies of colonialism and anti-colonial struggles in perpetuating the national attachment to projects of educational modernization and in shaping the contemporary debate on the form and content of pedagogical reforms in the Arab world. Indeed, for the historian of Arab education, current trends in public or private instruction in the region, especially in relation to the fundamental transformations underway in the oil-producing countries of the Gulf, invite enticing parallels with the endeavors of past colonial regimes to propagate their values to colonized societies by marginalizing local forms of knowledge. In the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Arab reformers, spurred by European influence, reconfigured native systems of education-now deemed primitive, according to the criteria of the colonizing powers-into the modern national school systems, curricula, and textbooks. Likewise, in the current context of globalization, inequalities between the Western "producers" of modern knowledge and its local "consumers" in the Arab world threaten to overwrite the region's own forms of knowledge and its rich intellectual traditions. Education and international security Not surprisingly, differences of opinion were widest when academic discussions broached the value of Arab educational transformations to international security and advances in the "global war on terror." At the heart of the debate was the credibility of empirical and sociological evidence directly linking education, poverty, and acts of violence. In addressing this question, three claims are generally put forth. The first holds that the poor level and quality of Arab education limit the economic opportunities for local youths, thus making the latter susceptible to political extremism. The second maintains that no amount of Western aid and educational assistance to the Arab and Muslim worlds can make headway against international terrorism if local curricula are not pruned of anti-western content. This analysis echoes the neo-conservative indictment of parochial "Islamic" instruction due to its alleged encouragement of religious intolerance, sectarian violence, and the "clash of civilizations" with the West. Regardless of the nuances between them, both statements regard the Westernization of local educational systems as the panacea for the ills of the so called illiberal Arabo-

17 Introduction 5 Muslim societies, and to this extent, they lend their support to the U.S.-led project to spread democracy to the region. The third position finds only tenuous causal links between low education, poverty, and participation in politically motivated violence. While the specialists upholding this claim see substance in "education for conflict resolution," they hesitate to rank educational failings as the sole determinant of "Islamic terrorism." Overly simplistic analyses of the content of Arab education, without consideration of socio-political factors, they charge, are driven by culturalist assumptions concerning "innate" flaws in Arabs and Muslims. Thus, they believe that the foundations for an effective strategy for combating terrorism cannot be based purely on the directives of Western governmental and non-governmental organizations. To the contrary, they detect dangerous parallels between the former civilizing missions of the European colonial powers and the current neo-conservative project for the Middle East-warnings that gained much saliency in light of the disastrous U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq since The preceding summaries do not exhaust, by any means, the range of conflicting outlooks on educational reform in the Arab world. Nor do they suggest a particular arrangement for the chapters to follow. Rather, I have attempted to adhere to a chronological progression from socio-historical studies of pre-modern Arab educational and pedagogical notions to analyses of the subsequent changes in learning under the impact of European imperialism, followed by the establishment of independent Arab nation-states. Next come contributions with questions of political economy as their main concern. These chapters show how attempts to transform the education of Arab youths are imbricated with global, post-cold War political and economic structures with their own criteria for defining "useful" knowledge and with new rules of inclusion or exclusion with regards to the global economy. Although this volume does not propose a comprehensive treatment of or definitive statement on the dimensions of education in the modern Arab world, it aims to remind the reader that educational concerns are seldom exclusively technical, but are rather intricately bound to longstanding and continuing struggles over political sovereignty, socio-economic improvement, and cultural authenticity. Part I: historical perspectives As mentioned above, reflections on the value of and paths to educational improvement have a long history in the Arabo-Islamic world. The opening chapters examine educational and pedagogical notions in Islam, and provide important retrospectives from which to consider the subsequent transformations in Arab learning and methods of instruction under the impact of European political and cultural imperialism. More significantly, the chapters in this section substantiate the pertinence of such historical

18 6 Osama Abi-Mershed overviews to modern or contemporary preoccupations with educational reform. Sebastian Gunther's comparative assessment of the educational concepts advocated by the influential Muslim thinkers Abu Nasr al-farabr and Abu Hamid al-ghazalr is a vital contribution to contemporary assessments of classical pedagogical traditions and theories of education in Islam. His study confirms that Muslim social elites in the ninth to eleventh centuries concerned themselves with educational efficacy, which they understood as conforming the principles and methods of instruction to social needs and to the "inborn aptitudes" and "natural abilities" of individuals. AI-Hirabi and al-ghazali' were remarkably aware of the significance of general and specialized instruction for the welfare of individuals and society as a whole. Despite their dissimilar theoretical approaches, al-farabi and al-ghaziili' aimed to lay sound foundations for a "learning society." To this end, they considered the development of formal curricula and higher learning necessary to impart crucial moral and ethical values, as well as technical and practical skills, to all members of society. Gunther concludes his review with a relevant deliberation on the extent to which the theoretical considerations and pedagogical notions of al-farabi and al-ghazali remain applicable to modern concepts of education and knowledge societies. In a similar vein, Steve Tamari challenges conventional scholarship on Arab history and the enduring Eurocentric attachment to the paradigm of a generalized cultural decline following the medieval "golden age" of Islam. He focuses on scholars ('ulama'), teachers, and educational institutions in eighteenth-century Ottoman Damascus in order to propose a more nuanced understanding of early modern Arabo-Muslim intellectual and cultural history, and to account for the longevity and resilience of pre-ottoman traditions in the face of the significant reforms instituted by the imperial authorities after the conquest of Syria in Tamari's examination of the strong cultural and educational continuities between the pre-ottoman and Ottoman periods provides compelling arguments for a more holistic approach to the history of Syria, and for the incorporation of categories of Islamic knowledge, such as those drawn from Sufism, that have been customarily regarded as irreconcilable with the prevailing notions of modern "rational" instruction. His study also compels the reader to reassess the influence of European learning, technologies, and ideologies on the Arabic intellectual revival (Nahda) of the late nineteenth century. Reconfiguring "native" education was an instrumental "cultural technology of rule" in the arsenal of the colonial powers as they endeavored to consolidate their political and economic clout over colonized societies. In the colonial discourse, indigenous education was deemed archaic and incompatible with progress, enlightenment, and modernization. Colonial authorities issued laws and decrees to supplant native academies with European schools and routines. Paradoxically, colonial education was a prime factor in the development of anti-colonial movements in Asia and Africa, and schools remained integral to the nationalist "modernizing" project to re-appropriate

19 Introduction the cultural identity and political destiny of the former colony. As a result, and as the remaining chapters in this section make clear, the end of formal colonial rule did not necessarily translate into overthrowing the civilizational dichotomies between "traditional Arab" and "modern European" schooling. Indeed, competing conceptualizations of modernity and progress are at the heart of Nadya Sbaiti's study of educational policy-making in mandate Lebanon ( ) from the vantage point of three secondary schools in the capital city of Beirut: the Syrian National School (Al-Madrasa al-ahliyya), the Islamic Benevolent Society (Al-Maqasid), and the Protestant School for Girls (College Protestant pour les Jeunes Filles). She examines the opposing public and private justifications put forth, on the one side, by the French Service de l'instruction Publique (SIP) and, on the other side, by Lebanese officials, educators, and students for instruction in their national language of choice. The choice, she maintains, was often pre-determined by the association of language with partisan political, social, and cultural markers. For example, whereas the SIP considered French to be the language of reason and progress, Lebanese nationalists countered with Arabic instruction as the safeguard of local cultural identity and native traditions. Sbaiti then shows how language and educational policies in mandate Lebanon dovetailed into local notions of social class, religious affiliation, and cultural authenticity, and were therefore critical in consolidating the multiple and competing post-mandate notions of identity, citizenship, and nation. Spencer Segalla engages in an analogous review of colonial education in the French protectorate of Morocco ( ). He investigates the efforts by colonial authorities to conserve or promote pre-determined cultural boundaries, and finds that attempts to prevent transculturation were a constant feature in official educational policies. SegaUa contends that the fear of hybridization was deeply rooted in the cultural discourses of both French colonialism and Moroccan nationalism, and concedes that Protectorate policies that aimed to maintain and preserve cultural differences among Moroccan students did not only reduce the economic and occupational utility of colonial education, but also contributed to the subsequent difficulties encountered by the independent monarchy in its efforts to Arabize its educational system. His study provides an excellent standpoint from which to gauge the continuing struggles over the form and content of education after the establishment of independent states. 7 Part ll: education and the post-colonial state The second thematic section picks up on the themes elaborated by Sbaiti and Segalla, and groups essays that explore the role of modem "statebased" educational systems in forging and preserving national institutions and identities and in responding to the needs of the independent, postcolonial Arab state. Malika Zeghal's study confirms the decisive influence of the post-colonial Arab state on traditional institutions of higher learning

20 8 Osama Abi Mershed and, by extension, on the nature oflocal public religious expression. She draws important distinctions between government policies targeting the univer sities of AI-Zaytuna (= Zitouna) in Tunisia in and Al Azhar in Egypt in 1961, and explains the priorities of the state in determining the evolution and post colonial status ofthese two academies. She demonstrates how government reforms amended and controlled the political and ideological content of the curricula of instruction in the Zaytuna and Al Azhar in the decades immediately following independence, and maintains that the decades in question are therefore indispensable to understand the functions that the two institutions currently fulfill, as well as the forms of knowledge that each transmits. State reforms in Egypt, she asserts, preserved the centrality of AI Azhar to the educational system, and the university was able consequently to transcend its primary educational functions and assume a prominent political and ideological role in the arena of public debates in the independent state. In contrast, state reforms significantly curtailed the position of the Zaytuna in the Tunisian polity, and its status was subsequently reduced to a mere institutional channel for the implementation of a rationalist reform of Islam, as defined by the state. Following Zeghal's lead, the remaining chapters in this section further under score the considerable imbrications between state-based education and the construction of national citizenry. Yet, they follow distinctive paths to the issue, and consider educational policies in contexts where collective identities or affiliations are indefinite, liminal, or extra-territorial, and are therefore more easily susceptible to interventions by interested policymaking or legislating bodies. In unison, these essays raise significant questions concerning the possibilities of "universal" education, as well as the capacity of state-based curricula to impede supra-national conventions and preserve polarized or marginalized post-colonial identities, especially in contexts of political conflicts, territorial disputes, and displaced populations. Nubar Hovsepian, for example, shows how the quasi-state institutions of the Palestinian Authority (PA) addressed the multiple, but not always mutually reinforcing, demands of the complex task of identity creation, nationbuilding, and resistance to Israeli occupation. He finds that the effort to reformulate and modernize the Palestinian educational system was reduced to a contest between the competing "affiliative" orders oflbrahim Abu-Lughod and his team of radical reformers and of the bureaucracy of the Palestinian Ministry of Education (MOE). The former, argues Hovsepian, developed their ideas through a participatory approach that ultimately produced a radical plan for the implementation of the first Palestinian curriculum. They called for pedagogic reforms that emphasized methods of learning as much as content of instruction. Their proposals explicitly invited Palestinian students to generate their own knowledge by questioning authority and "received" knowledge. Hovsepian then analyzes the textbooks published by the MOE, and finds that the incorporation of the curriculum plan

21 Introduction 9 into state policy resulted in a conscious attempt to de-emphasize many of the "radical" ideas of the Abu-Lughod team in order to subsume the "resistance identity" of Palestinians within the "institutionalized nationalism" of the PA. Zeena Zakharia continues our examination of national language policy in education from the perspective of "unofficial" actors, in this case, secondary school youths in Lebanon. Her sociological data, when read in conjunction with Sbaiti's historical study, shows how language in Lebanon continues to be interwoven with discourses on national identity in educational policy. Drawing on extensive qualitative and quantitative data collected between 2005 and 2007, Zakahria outlines the trajectories of youth language ideologies across religious, socioeconomic, and language-schooling contexts in Greater Beirut. Her data demonstrate that while larger socio-political conflicts are generating a push towards foreign languages across schools, these conflicts are simultaneously creating a countervailing "patriotic" pull towards Arabic. Thus, Beiruti youths articulate both a strong connection to the Arabic language as well as a strong multilingual ideology, suggesting that Arabic has regained its symbolic status across religious and secular schools and disparate religious communities in line with post-civil war educational policies. The observed connection to Arabic, however, is based on differing notions of identity and visions of what it means to be Lebanese. Thus, despite the value ascribed to Arabic and its widespread use on campuses, mundane school practices continue to undermine it. Zakharia's study provides compelling insights into the long-term impact of colonial and missionary educational enterprises, as well as the short-term effects of sustained conflict on the Lebanese educational system. Compounding the struggles over the shape and form of education in the Arab world is the reality that the agenda for reform is increasingly wedded to global institutions and to an economic order that defines the useful and/or desirable forms of knowledge. Yet, knowledge, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), qualifies as "a human right," is "an end in-and-of-itself," and "a prerequisite for participation in governance, for health, for human security, and, more than ever, for productive engagement in the increasingly competitive global economy (UNDP 2008)." Accordingly, Colin Brock and Lala Demirdjian highlight some of the challenges that confront the post-colonial state as it seeks to accommodate national educational requirements to growing regional integration or multinational interdependence. Although they focus primarily on the challenges faced by Palestinian refugees in accessing educational facilities, Brock and Demirdjian suggest ways in which the concept of "education as a humanitarian response" may apply to the Arab world more broadly, particularly as it relates to granting indiscriminate access to educational systems and prioritizing vocational activity in education to enable the attainment of income-generating skills by all members of society.

22 10 Osama Abi-Mershed Part III: education and socio-political development: reform, policy, and practice The chapters in the third section of the book address the links between educational refonns in the contemporary Arab world and the prevalent notions of social and economic development. The object of these final chapters is to deliver conceptual and practical assessments of recent local and international efforts to encourage socio-political development in the Arab world through educational reforms. The contributors speculate on future trends in Arab education, on the prospects for achieving the desired socio-political improvements, and for designing successful educational strategies to enhance or capitalize on global interdependence. In his key sociological analysis of the concept of "knowledge society," Andre Mazawi examines the dependency that is created by educational reforms driven by the demands of the so-called knowledge economy. At their core, he argues, educational reforms are about the "struggle over the naming of the social transformations." For Mazawi, research on schooling in the Arab world needs to pay closer attention to the struggles between states and dther local contenders for the power embedded in schools. His chapter identifies the various configurations of power-national, regional, and global-in relation and opposition to which are unfolding the struggles over what constitutes knowledge and what is valued as development. Mazawi masterfully traces the implications of these power configurations for educational policies and school refonns implemented across the Arab region in the aftermath of the Gulf War of \. He unravels the discursive layers that underpin the "building of an Arab knowledge society" in order to reveal how competing development agendas have been politically constructed and why educational development has become such a contentious and contested terrain in the Arab context. The contentious debate on the most favorable path to educational renewal in the Arab world is nowhere more evident than in discussions of the Emirate of Qatar's far-reaching venture since 2001 to upgrade its educational institutions. RAND, a U.S.-based nonprofit research institution, was solicited to analyze how the Emirate's existing system was meeting or failing the country's educational needs. The RAND team, with its Qatari partners, recommended a sweeping plan based on new government-funded schools that would operate independently of the Ministry of Education, along with standardized national student tests aligned with internationallybenchmarked curriculum standards. Implementation of the refonns began in 2002, and in their chapter, Dominic J. Brewer and Charles A. Goldman, leading members of the RAND team, provide the background analysis underlying the Qatari plan and its main elements, discuss its progress, and highlight some of the challenges they have encountered. For Munir Bashshur, Goldman and Brewer overlook the thornier aspects of the Qatari refonns, their intended goals, and the vested political and economic interests. He counters with a critical review of the "Education for

23 Introduction a New Era" initiative that is being funded by the Qatar Foundation and spearheaded by the RAND Corporation and of "Education City," which sports satellite campuses for a number of premier U.S. universities. He contemplates the viability of these programs in light of the great increase in the number ofcross-border educational institutions in the Arab region since the late 1990s, and identifies the factors that are likely to impede or facilitate their success for both givers and receivers of education. His assessment of the appropriate modes of operation for cross-border educational institutions places particular stress on their capacity to link up with local cultural concerns and native institutions of learning. Thus, among his chief concerns with the Qatari model, Bashshur lists the lack of involvement by local institutions of learning such as Qatar University, the de-emphasizing of Arabic content, and the endorsement of "secular" curricula of instruction. II References UNDP (2002) "Creating Opportunities for Future Generations," The Arab Human Development Report, New York: UNDP. --(2003) "Building a Knowledge Society," The Arab Human Development Report, New York: UNDP. -- (2004) "Towards Freedom in the Arab World," The Arab Human Development Report, New York: UNDP. (2005) "Towards the Rise of Women in the Arab World," The Arab Human Development Report, New York: UNDP. -- (2008) "Arab States: Building Knowledge Societies." Online. HTTP: arabstates.undp.orglsubpage.php?spid=i3 (accessed December 30, 2008). World Bank (2008) The Road Not Traveled: Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa, Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

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