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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Chrystal George Mwangi

Subject Categories

Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education


In an increasingly globalized world, higher education institutions (HEIs) play a key role in contributing to their countries’ economic growth and social development (George, 2006). Higher education, as a social institution, has a key role in contributing to the public collective good of societies through educating citizens on democracy, producing and advancing knowledge through research, and forming partnerships with other sectors within a given state or country (Kezar, 2004). The increasingly globalized higher education environment puts universities under pressure to prove their academic worth through placing emphasis on research production needed to enter the global knowledge economy (George, 2006). As a result, governments and policy makers in many countries find the notion of a “world-class university” (WCU) to be a very appealing model. The WCU concept mainly reflects the western model and values of the research-oriented academic institution that originated in Germany in the 19th century and is now prevailing in most European countries, the United States, and many other parts of the world (Altbach, 2004).

Over the past decade, internationalization has been the main driver behind the reform plans in higher education in Egypt. Policymakers have proposed reform plans that heavily adopt western models in an attempt to make the Egyptian higher education system more competitive within a globalized education market. However, centering the Global South context reveals the inequalities of globalized higher education especially regarding the ability of different higher education systems to participate in the global knowledge economy (Altbach, 2004). Therefore, the purpose of my study is to explore how the higher education policies in Egypt (as an example of a country from the Global South) represent globalized discourses such as the concept of WCUs, as well as examine how addressing issues pertinent to the local context and national priorities is articulated in education-related policies and strategic plans.

My critical analysis of Egypt’s education policies and strategic plans both at the national higher education system as well as the institutional level showed that, currently, there is a strong representation of both the local priorities and global needs and issues. Despite the presence of both local and global discourses within the policy documents, I found that Egyptian government’s most often cited priority was to promote the educational competitiveness of the higher education system in Egypt. My findings showed that both national and institutional policies frame the problem of Egypt’s higher education system and public universities as lacking overall international competitiveness because they are not positioned within the top world class status. My study also found that while Egypt benefited from the expertise and knowledge of international actors, the inclusion of global actors led to framing the local context and priorities in some policy documents within a global lens. As a result, tensions at both policy and implementation levels arise. Additionally, context-sensitive incremental and transformational proposals for change are also offered and discussed.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Thursday, May 13, 2027