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The new World Bank report The Road Not Traveled: Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa is a comprehensive economic analysis of the impact of education investments on the region, as well as demographic changes, globalisation, labour migration, and the role of the labour market. The report emphasises that policy-makers should use incentives, public accountability, curriculum, and labour market reforms to make the region’s economies more dynamic. Countries in the region are not currently enjoying the same returns on education investment at the higher-education level as some fast-growing middle-income countries in Asia, such as Malaysia and the Republic of Korea.
The major problem in the region is, according to the report, that university graduates cannot find jobs. For that reason, the report also examines one of the most critical prior conditions to a well functioning education system, a well-functioning labour market, and recommends reforms in the area go hand-in-hand with educational reforms. Educational reforms are expected to be costly. The number of students seeking post-compulsory education in the region is expected to increase considerably in the next decades.