, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 97-113
Date: 29 Mar 2011

Implications of financing higher education for access and equity: The case of Syria

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This article examines the implications for access and equity of the Syrian government’s efforts to reform higher education in the country over the past decade. In the context of social and economic reforms that are moving the county from a state-controlled to a social market economy, it focuses on adequacy in financing higher education, as well as efficiency and equity. Significant progress has been made in access to higher education. The government has introduced a rich variety of options for accessing higher education, resulting in a doubling of enrolled students over the past 10 years. In terms of equity, the gender gaps in higher education enrollment and completion have all but disappeared nationally, although regional variations persist. The study raises concerns about the system’s internal and external efficiency: despite some improvements, the quality of the curricula and their relevance for the labour market remain serious issues.

The authors are grateful to the Economic Research Forum and the Ford Foundation for funding and sponsoring the project. They are also grateful to Yasmine Fahim and Dr. Simona Popa for their valuable comments and suggestions and their support in preparing the article for publication.