Education Transitions in Egypt: The Effects of Gender and Wealth

Ray Langsten, American University in Cairo
Tahra Hassan, American University in Cairo

After the 1952 revolution Egypt committed itself to expanding educational opportunity in pursuit of social justice and economic development. Enrollments have expanded rapidly, spurred by a large construction program in the last two decades. It is often assumed that educational expansion, in itself, will reduce socioeconomic disparities in educational access and attainment. Studies in industrial societies differ on whether expansion leads to greater equality. Few studies have been done in a developing country context. These have found little evidence of a declining effect of socio-economic background on educational attainment. We use data from the 1988 through 2005 Demographic and Health Surveys to assess the effect of educational expansion on educational attainment in Egypt. We find that, while inequalities persist, socio-economic effects have diminished. Consistent with previous studies, effects are strongest at the beginning of children’s educational careers. We discuss theories explaining this result, and implications for educational policy.

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Presented in Poster Session 1