Half a Century of Exporting Educational Services: Assessing Egypt’s Role in Educating the Arab World
Egypt’s role as the leading exporter of educational services to the Arab region has been a source of national pride and great debate in the academic literature on labour migration. Previous research has been based on anecdotal evidence and fragments of data collected from Gulf governments. This paper, however, analyses the export performance of Egypt’s education sector using a unique and previously unpublished database administered by the Ministry of Education in Cairo. Between 1952 and 2007, Government secondment of Egyptian school teachers covered 639,370 years of full-time teaching in the Arab world. This paper explores the attributes of the secondment programme and provides an account of how demand and supply conditions have changed over time, focusing in particular on the causes of the more recent collapse in exports. It also presents a structured inventory of regulatory restrictions and concludes that these restrictions have had limited overall impact on the decline of exports. Finally, this paper estimates that the annual flow of remittances from seconded school teachers is likely to have been around US$ 100-200 million in the 1976-95 period.