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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Dec 16, 2009

School Dropout

In previous posts I have noted that, in general, the educational systems at both the upper and lower levels are poor and way behind other countries worldwide. The educational institutions are graduating students who are not prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
Recently, the Egyptian Minister of Education, Dr. Yusri Aljamal, stated that there are more than 300,000 students who dropped out of schools in Egypt. He noted that this trend has to stop, because it reflects negatively on the Egyptian society, and that these students have to be brought back to school. Some of these students are without shelter, and must be from poverty stricken homes. They are referred to as "Awlad il-Shawara", which means "street boys". The Minister of Education should be commended for focusing on the problem of school dropouts, which has been going on for many years and is also reflected in the high illiteracy rate in Egypt which exceeds one third of the total adult population. It is unfortunate that the illiteracy rate in the Arab world in general is still high. It varies from 10% to 40% of the adult population.
There are several factors related to students dropping out from schools. First, poverty, which prevails on a large scale in many countries in the Arab world, pressures families to let their children leave school to search for a job. Second, schools are too crowded, and the educational environment does not encourage students to stay in school. Third, there are shortages of trained school teachers where they are needed. Fourth, schools lack professionally trained counselors to help students with their problems when needed. Fifth, the location of public schools, especially in rural areas where distance becomes discouraging factor commuting to school. Sixth, in rural areas, many illiterate parents discourage their daughters from attending schools for obvious reasons. These are at least some factors that influence and discourage students from continuing their education. Nevertheless, those who drop out of schools will pay a high price, and will become a burden on their societies.

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