This paper explores and summarises the status, policies, challenges and reforms of the education systems in the Arab World. There is much that the systems have in common, especially in relation to cultural background, language and general strategies – this despite the striking differences that exist in the region in terms of the stage of development as reflected in such indicators as literacy rates, participation rates, gender issues, funding, and so on. The steady shift of the status of, and approach to education from being predominantly a social service reflecting mainly individual needs and human rights, and thus is mostly supply driven, to a balanced socioeconomic activity that incorporates the necessary aspects of a social service and economic investment has been a common phenomenon in Arab countries. One of the major developments in this respect is the growing privatisation and globalisation of educational services, especially in higher education. Modern technologies helped to support such developments and enhance a commodity approach with all its pros and cons which are clear mainly in distance and open education that utilises e-learning methodologies and which is spreading quickly, whether in open universities or as blended education in ordinary ones. The governance and structural aspects of the education systems in the Arab World have been characterised by some apparent weaknesses that are reflected in the ongoing efforts to improve their relevance to developmental needs and labour market requirements, enhance the decentralization aspects and school empowerment, and develop the technical and vocational education systems. The relatively high population growth rate, coupled with the phenomenon of mass education and the lack of resources in the majority of Arab countries, have reflected negatively on the qualitative aspects of educational efforts and services, and have resulted, in many cases, in poor efficiency. This is clear for example in the modest achievements in the field of scientific research. In the educational field, the Arab World does not lack regional and sub-regional organisations and set-ups, although the effectiveness of such organisations has so far been subject to criticism despite many distinct efforts and achievements.