Jonathan Kriener

The social sciences in the research on Arab higher education: Lebanon and Egypt as examples


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Faculties of social sciences and humanities educate by far the largest share of university students in the Arab World. Unemployment of university graduates mainly results from this quantitative overcapacity, which is widely assumed to be accompanied by qualitative deficiencies. In terms of educational research, planning, and funding, however, the social sciences and humanities are paid the least attention among the academic disciplines in Arab countries. When addressed in the research literature, their authenticity and academic freedom are the ʻhottestʼ issues. In an attempt at sorting out tilled and untilled fields of research on the Arab social sciences and humanities, this article summarizes the macro-statistical works about Arab higher education at large and others that deal with the Arab social sciences and humanities in particular, focusing on Egypt and Lebanon. It refers to funding policies, institutional diversification, concepts of quality assurance, and the contested field of the epistemological and ideological concepts by which teaching and research are conducted.