The Challenges of Private Higher Education in Egypt - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

The Challenges of Private Higher Education in Egypt

Ghada Barsoum

May, 2014


24 pages

I2. Education and Research Institutions

Private institutions are strongly showing presence in the landscape of higher education in Egypt.  This is not unique to Egypt, as private higher education is a significant global trend accounting for most of the growth in higher education in the world.  This paper looks at the growing role of higher education institutions in Egypt and seeks to place it within the global experience of a growing share of private higher education.  The paper also seeks to address some of the challenges this growing sector faces.  This paper builds on two sources of data.  Data from a recently fielded survey (2012) tracing university graduates aged 25-40 in two disciplines that have been the target of private education institutions, namely business administration and information technology.  The analysis of survey data focuses on the variegated education and work experiences between graduates of private institutions and public institutions.  The analysis shows that private higher education institutions primarily serve to absorb the demand for higher education.  Qualitative data based on interviews with some graduates of private institutions and a case review of two private higher education institutions seek to describe the context to private higher institutions in Egypt.  The evidence provided in the paper suggests that private higher institutions face challenges as they seek to provide affordable higher education, while making profit.  The paper concludes with a discussion of reform policies to address the growth of private higher education and issues of education quality, market transparency and social accountability.

Research Fellows

Ghada Barsoum

Assistant Professor, The American University in Cairo



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