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Author

Nader Habibi

Henry J. Leir Professor of the Economics of the Middle East at the Crown Center, Brandeis University

Fatma El-Hamidi

Adjunct Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at the University of Pittsburgh

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Why Are Egyptian Youth Burning Their University Diplomas? The Overeducation Crisis in Egypt


Nader Habibi and Fatma El-Hamidi
Middle East Brief 102, September 2016

Summary

On September 11, 2015, Egyptian university graduates set their PhD and MBA certificates on fire to protest their inability to find suitable jobs with these advanced degrees. Paradoxically, the day before Egyptian high school students and their parents gathered to demand an increase in the admissions capacity of public universities. These very different protests are emblematic of the "overeducation" crisis facing Egypt. In this Brief, Nader Habibi and Fatma El-Hamidi analyze the political and socioeconomic causes, historical roots, and current form of this crisis. They further shed light on the ongoing debate, recent policy initiatives, and place the Egyptian crisis within a larger regional context. The Brief concludes with the assessment that only by restricting admissions can Egypt re-balance the supply and demand for highly educated workers.


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