• Arwa Hanin Elrayess

Critical View Of Arab Education: A student's perspective

Updated: Jan 30, 2020

Education has, and always will be, the gear that propels underdeveloped nations towards success and is, without a doubt, the key to worldwide advancement.

So, it should come as no surprise that countries struggling most politically, economically or even socially, critically lack educational services.

However, it’s not just the scarcity of these services that can cause nations to collapse, but it is also the efficiency and quality of the educational systems.

Despite the Arab world’s plethora of natural resources and relatively accessible educational services, they are known for their underdeveloped nature and uneducated population.

In my article below, I will highlight reasons as to why the Arab education system has failed and how it can be improved to mold a brighter future for our coming generations.

The Main Issues Plaguing Arab Education:

Notorious for their harsh, controversial and ineffective methods, schools across the Arab region have fixated on an outdated educational style centered around memorization and continuous repetition.

This has left the region’s young people "quite good at repeating what they’ve learned but not at participating in tasks that require them to think creatively.”

Students are rarely asked to contribute their ideas, instead, are told to suppress their innovation and follow orders as they are given.

Lessons empowering the artistic and imaginative side of the brain (such as art, theater and music) are considered second class, and are rarely suggested to those who show interest in these hobbies.

This significantly restricts a child’s creativity and innovative capacity.

Unfortunately, students’ psychological health has also been placed at the bottom of Arab schools’ priorities. No systems have been enforced to monitor the mental states of individuals, instead those found struggling are ridiculed and criticized, rather than supported.

Equally, the poor life quality offered in Arab nations has forced the educational industry into a commercially driven one. The majority of teachers spend just enough effort in order to return home with their salaries, and rarely show any passion or interest in their jobs.

How can we expect our generation’s youth to pay attention or understand the significance of schooling if their own teachers belittle the establishment?

Effects Of These Flaws On Arab Regions:

As expected, these outdated schooling methods have begun to show negative effects on our modern and advancing world.

Children in Arab nations are losing interest in all subjects, finding school a source of misery instead of creativity and inspiration.

In turn, this has created a much higher rate of class/school skipping compared to that of OEDC countries and a continuous trend of scoring near the bottom in international comparisons of abilities.

Additionally, poor education has been directly linked to fewer job opportunities and an increase of people living in poverty and disease. This is because, applicants with higher education are more likely to land a job that provides health-promoting benefits such as health insurance, paid leave, and retirement. Oppositely, people with less education are more likely to work in high-risk occupations with few benefits.

Also, it is undeniable that education offers many financially rewarding opportunities which can encourage the advancement of the region’s health sector, increasing the availability and quality of medical services in the nation as a whole.

Moreover, education has shown significant association with healthy behavior. That is, those with a college education, relative to those without, had more positive expectations in preventing disease and in not feeling fatalistic about cancer prevention and were more likely to pursue their dreams and ambitions.

They also exhibited less depression-like symptoms and higher health literacy, including the ability to understand recommendations for lowering cancer risks and in searching for accurate health information.

Finally, those without education lacked major problem-solving and communication skills and were more prone to manipulation.

All the effects mentioned above have begun to show their consequence in most Arab nations leading to civil wars, governmental oppression, nation-wide violence and an overall miserable quality of life.

What We Can Do To Help This Dilemma:

Western schools across the globe have adopted more suitable teaching methods to accommodate our advancing generation, which is exactly what Arab nations must strive to accomplish.

For example, technological advancements are utilized, instead of denounced, in Western schools by improving students’ ability to retrieve information independently.

This technique is beneficial as the real world does not require memorized information, rather, it will challenge your quick-thinking and communicational abilities, leadership skills and overall self-dependence.

Another successful method is interactive teaching, such as group projects, class presentations, speeches, etc. When children are given the freedom to orchestrate and create their own projects, they build problem-solving skills and initiative, discover their strengths and weaknesses whilst gaining independence over their thoughts.

This all acts as foundation for their growing personalities and widens their horizons, showing them how much they are capable of achieving.

Additionally, students must no longer be emotionally or physically harmed in Arab schools. Not only does this lower their confidence and self-esteem, it also normalizes the idea of aggression and makes it more likely for children of the coming generation to be treated similarly, creating a vicious cycle of violence.

Finally, specialized teams must be introduced in schools to monitor the mental states of students. Any warning signs must be recognized and notified to parents, along with steps that can be taken to help those struggling. This is a critical point as mental health has been directly linked to the educational success of students.


Regardless of our cultural differences and religious conflicts, the Arab region, along with all other underdeveloped nations of the world, must come together to lead our coming generations towards a future of education and world-wide advancement.

We must recognize that education is complex: no two students will prosper or learn using the same methods, so we must diversify and expand our teaching techniques.

It is our duty and moral obligation to do the best we can for our children, and to prohibit our greed and self-interests from affecting the lives of those who will carry our legacies.

Because ultimately, we are the sculptors of our own nations. Only we can carve our future, for nations are nothing more than a reflection of their citizens, and citizens are clear reflections of their education.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X
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