Inequality of Opportunity in Educational Attainment in Middle East and North Africa: Evidence from Household Surveys - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Education is widely considered as the most important path to social mobility in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), yet there are very few studies of the extent to which it fulfills this promise. In this paper we use survey data from seven MENA countries to understand the relationship between schooling attainment of youth and the circumstances into which they are born, namely gender, parent education, and type of community. We consider both the probability of entry and of reaching secondary school using censored ordered probit. We find an alarming degree of inequality of opportunity in attainment in most of these countries, especially in Iraq and Yemen. Previous results of inequality of opportunity in MENA in achievement show that building a level playing field in learning requires much more than free provision of schools; the results of this study find the same for attending and staying in school.


يعتبر التعليم أهم مسار للحراك الاجتماعي في الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا ، ولكن هناك عدد قليل جدا من الدراسات عن المدى الذي يجعله يحقق هذا الوعد. في هذه الورقة نستخدم بيانات مسح من سبعة بلدان فى الشرق الأوسط لفهم العلاقة بين التعليم المدرسي للشباب والظروف التي يولد فيها، وهما النوع ودرجة تعلم الوالدين، ونوع المجتمع المحيط به. ونضع فى الاعتبار كل من احتمال دخول ووالصول الى المدرسة الثانوية باستخدام الاحتمالية المراقبة (censored ordered probit). نجد أن هناك درجة تنذر بالخطر من عدم تكافؤ الفرص في التحصيل في معظم هذه البلدان، ولا سيما في العراق واليمن. النتائج السابقة من عدم تكافؤ الفرص في منطقة الشرق الأوسط تبين أن ايجاد فرص متكافئة في التعليم يتطلب أكثر بكثير من توفيرمناطق خالية للمدارس؛ نتائج هذه الدراسة تظهر الشئ نفسه بالنسبة للحضور والبقاء في المدرسة.
Research Fellows

Ragui Assaad

Professor of Planning and Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

Research Fellows

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani

Professor, Virginia Tech University

Research Associates

Rana Hendy

Assistant Professor, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar University



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