Basic education - considered essential for building democratic societies and competitive ecomies - has headed the agendas of development agencies in recent years. During the same period, Egypt topped the lists of recipients of development assistance and proclaimed education to be its national project. In this new study, political scientist Fatma Sayed explains how Egyptian domestic political actors have interacted with and reacted to international development aid to Egypt's educational system, particularly when that aid is linked to sensitive issues of reform and cultural change. In recent years, international dors have called for changes that are inconsistent with the functions, structures and culture of Egyptian institutions, resulting in a climate of suspicion surrounding foreign aid to education. In this penetrating analysis, Sayed looks at how problems are diagsed and reforms implemented and resisted. As Sayed demonstrates, the low level of ownership and consensus among the various domestic actors and the failure to establish strategic coalitions to support the reforms result in poor implementation and incomplete internalization. From the debate over free education to conspiracy theories and the evolving definition of international rms, this book sheds new light on the conflict of ideas that surrounds dor-sponsored reforms.
Fatma H. Sayed holds a Ph.D. in political and social science from the European University Institute in Florence, and an MPA from the American University in Cairo. She is a consultant for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.