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Education and Youth Policy Research Program

​Focus Areas

Focus Area #1: Tertiary Education
This focus area will address the study of issues within tertiary education in the Arab world. Access to education in most countries of the Arab world expanded quite rapidly in the past decade, particularly to tertiary education. As a result, progress has been made in enrollment and completion rates in both secondary and higher education. Yet the dramatic expansion of post-basic education in the Arab world is not living up to the expectations of employers, families, and young graduates. Many graduates are not getting jobs and many employers claim that young graduates are not well-equipped with relevant skills. It is strongly believed that the key to restoring a sense of dignity and agency among the youth in the region and for an increased productivity is through accountable educational systems. The program will focus on studying the different aspects of tertiary education that can contribute to an improved system of post-basic education better aligned with the demands of the society and the market. This will be achieved by systematically developing research studies that understand the current situation of the tertiary education systems in the region and provides insights and policy recommendations for improvement. 

Focus Area #2: Youth and Employment  
This focus area addresses issues of youth and lifelong learning, particularly through looking at transitions to employment and on the job training. Unemployment is more prevalent in countries of the Arab world than in other middle-income regions, as a high proportion of the working-age population, particularly women and youth, experiences high unemployment. The high unemployment is predominantly a youth phenomenon, not only resulting from high unemployment rates among the young, but also from the young’s demographic weight in the working-age population in the region. Studies reveal that the height of the youth bulge will be observed in the region by 2030 with an estimated increase of 10 million of the school age population (0-24 years). In addition to the high youth population, employers in the region complain of the low relevance of the skills of applicants to firms’ business needs. Therefore, this focus area explores the employability of youth in the region, through engaging in research studies that provide a better understanding of the current situation in order to address policy concerns.

Focus Area #3: K-12 Education
Most countries of the Arab world do not fare well in international student assessment. This indicates that the quality of education in the region is low (by international standards), revealing that too many students are not learning. The low quality and relevance of education are widely seen as the most important reason for the failure of educational and training systems in countries of the Arab world to produce employable graduates. Numerous plans have been put forth and many attempts at implementations have gone through in a number of countries of the region, all aiming at improving educational outcomes of nations, however, the low quality of education persists in many of the regions K-12 systems. This focus area will explore issues within K-12 education in the Arab world, particularly addressing issues of improved quality and equity in access to education and educational opportunities, providing practical implications and policy recommendations.
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