Koboul E. Mansour

Koboul Mansour, director of the Days-Massolo Center, recently presented research at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. She discussed “World-Class Universities and the Imitation Game: The Reality of the Global South” in a session on “Higher Education and Institutional Comparisons Across Countries.”

Mansour discussed an increasingly globalized higher education environment that pressures universities to prove their academic worth by emphasizing research production, needed to enter the global knowledge economy and be known as a “world-class university” (WCU).

She said that for the past 10 years, internationalization has played a key role in higher education reform plans in Egypt. “Policymakers have proposed reform plans that heavily adopt western models in an attempt to make the Egyptian higher education system more competitive within a globalized education market,” she said.

Mansour’s research explored ways “higher education policies in Egypt (as an example of a country from the Global South) represent globalized discourses such as the concept of WCUs,” and examined how addressing issues pertinent to the local context and national priorities is articulated in education-related policies and strategic plans.

She said her critical analysis of Egypt’s education policies and strategic plans – at the national higher education system level and at the institutional level – showed that there is “a strong representation of both the local priorities and global needs and issues.” Despite the local and global needs expressed in the policy documents, Mansour found that the “Egyptian government’s most often cited priority was to promote the educational competitiveness of the higher education system in Egypt.” Her presentation also offered context-sensitive incremental and transformational proposals for change.

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