Authors: Rym AYADI (Senior Research Fellow, CEPS)
Social change and transformation in the GCC countries is only possible with the active internal involvement of citizens in political and social dialogue, leading to a coordinated and gradual “change from within”. However, having been led by autocratic rulers for centuries, the region’s citizens lack the resources and understanding of political mobilisation and responsibility. An educational system that delivers real outcomes can broaden the economic and social opportunities of its citizens, empowering and preparing them to assume their role as “agents of change” while reinforcing their social and intellectual development. Although the GCC countries have come a long way in enhancing enrolment and literacy rates, the region’s educational systems still suffer from low quality, misaligned incentives, lack of public accountability, inability to provide the skills needed in the market, and equipping pupils with critical thinking capacities. The EU has to a take more active role in providing assistance and sharing its know-how, instead of narrowly focusing on venues of cooperation in higher education, typically oriented for industrialised nations.