Education can be a powerful force in the process of speeding up economic growth, improving income distribution and facilitating upward social mobility. It could also improve the quality of life (e.g., through its effect on life expectancy, fertility rates and infant mortality rates) as well as the nature of governance in a given society (through its effect on citizens’ awareness and political participation). It is important to note, however, that these outcomes are neither automatic nor inevitable. Achieving them requires several prerequisites, including adequate financial resources that are allocated both efficiently and equitably.

The focus of this Policy Research Report (PRR) is on the extent to which this prerequisite is met with respect to higher education in 6 Arab countries: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia. The report contains 6 chapters, each covering one case study, and a comparative chapter. By design, each country study deals with the same set of issues: an assessment of the adequacy, efficiency and equity of financing of higher education; an analysis of future financing challenges; a critical review of reforms to date; and recommendations to deal with the identified problems. To facilitate inter-country comparisons, the Egyptian case study was prepared ahead of the other cases.