Degrees of Dignity: Arab Higher Education in the Global Era

By Elizabeth Buckner

© 2021

Presenting an analyses of higher education in eight countries in the Arab Middle East and North Africa, Degrees of Dignity works to dismantle narratives of crisis and assert approaches to institutional reform. Drawing on policy documents, media narratives, interviews, and personal experiences, Elizabeth Buckner explores how apolitical external reform models become contested and modified by local actors in ways that are simultaneously complicated, surprising, and even inspiring.

Degrees of Dignity documents how the global discourses of neoliberalism have legitimized specific policy models for higher education reform in the Arab world, including quality assurance, privatization, and internationalization. Through a multi-level and comparative analysis, this book examines how policy models are implemented, with often complex results, in countries throughout the region.

Ultimately, Degrees of Dignity calls on the field of higher education development to rethink current approaches to higher education reform: rather than viewing the Arab world as a site for intervention, it argues that the Arab world can act as a source for insight on resilient higher education systems.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Degrees of Dignity examines how global discourses and policy models are affecting and altering contemporary higher education systems in the Arab Middle East and North Africa.

Degrees of Dignity: Arab Higher Education in the Global Era

By Elizabeth Buckner

© 2021

Presenting an analyses of higher education in eight countries in the Arab Middle East and North Africa, Degrees of Dignity works to dismantle narratives of crisis and assert approaches to institutional reform. Drawing on policy documents, media narratives, interviews, and personal experiences, Elizabeth Buckner explores how apolitical external reform models become contested and modified by local actors in ways that are simultaneously complicated, surprising, and even inspiring.

Degrees of Dignity documents how the global discourses of neoliberalism have legitimized specific policy models for higher education reform in the Arab world, including quality assurance, privatization, and internationalization. Through a multi-level and comparative analysis, this book examines how policy models are implemented, with often complex results, in countries throughout the region.

Ultimately, Degrees of Dignity calls on the field of higher education development to rethink current approaches to higher education reform: rather than viewing the Arab world as a site for intervention, it argues that the Arab world can act as a source for insight on resilient higher education systems.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Elizabeth Buckner is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.
  • Table of contents

    Tables
    Figures

    1. Introduction
    Higher Education and the Arab State in the Global Era
    The Limits of Technical Approaches
    A Multi-Level and Comparative Approach
    The Global Arena in Education and Development
    Reconstituting the Local
    Local Contestation, Power, and Privilege
    Data and Analysis
    Organization of the Book
    Degrees of Dignity: Towards A New Narrative
    References

    2. The University and the Arab World
    Introduction
    Early Models of Islamic Higher Education
    The European Influence
    Independence and Nation-Building
    The Global Era
    Overview of Higher Education Systems
    Egypt and the Levant (Syria, Jordan and Lebanon)
    Francophone North Africa (Morocco and Tunisia)
    The Arab Gulf States (Qatar and the UAE)
    Global Models, Localized Approaches
    References

    3. Sorting Students, Determining Fates
    Introduction
    Access for All
    The Exit Exam as Meritocracy
    Criticisms of Centralized and Exam-Based Admissions
    The Social Consequences of Exams
    Private Tutoring
    The Implications of Cheating
    Thwarted Ambitions
    ‘Exceptions’ and the Political Calculus of Admissions in Jordan
    Privatizing Pathways
    Higher Education in the Arab Gulf States
    Paying for Access in Lebanon’s Privatized System
    Higher Education Admissions and State Legitimacy
    References

    4. The Question of Quality
    Introduction
    The Global Race for Quality
    The Crisis
    The Technical Approach to Quality
    Quality Assurance as Solution
    The World Bank and the Knowledge Economy
    Europeanization in North Africa
    Relying on External Advice in the Arab Gulf
    The Limits of Quality Assurance
    Quality and The Linguistic Hierarchy
    Reconsidering Higher Education and the Labor Market
    Reconsidering the Credential
    Redefining Excellence as Both Political and Personal
    References

    5. Privatizing the Public Good
    Introduction
    The Growth of Private Higher Education
    Apolitical Privatization
    The Right to Free Public Higher Education
    Selective Public Sector Subsidies
    “Selling Degrees”
    Exacerbating Inequalities
    The Private Sector and The Public Good?
    References

    6. Internationalizing the National University
    Introduction
    The Internationalization Imperative
    People on the Move: Student and Scholarly Mobility
    Bilateral Scholarship Programs
    International Students
    Provider Mobility: Importing Excellence
    Internationalization as a National Project
    References

    7. Between Knowledge and Truth
    Introduction
    The University and the Knowledge Society
    “Far from Innovative”
    Academic Researchers as Knowledge Producers
    Ignoring the Structural Realities
    Investing in Science and Research Production
    National Science Policy Regimes
    “Publications Have Soared” in Qatar
    The Doha Institute’s “Different Approach”
    The Hollow Discourse of Productivity
    Academic Freedom
    Between Knowledge and Truth
    References

    Conclusion: Rethinking Higher Education and Development
    Re-politicizing Development
    Learning from, not about, the Arab World
    References

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