There are many national and international schools in Cairo today, and every year lots of parents make educational choices for their children. Those choices are based on various factors. This research explores the factors that influence parents to select a certain school type and not the other. It is an initial step into school research as an attempt to help educators and administrators understand parents’ and students’ priorities, needs and expectations when choosing a school. The research questions are: (1) What are the most and least important factors that parents consider when choosing a national/ international school for their children? (2) What are the reasons that parents cite for not choosing the other type of school for their children? (3) What background experiences influence parents’ school type choice decision? and (4) Do parents and students feel that the current school type meets their needs? This research uses a mixed approach of quantitative and qualitative methods. An analysis of 41 students interviewed revealed that friends are the best thing students enjoy about going to school. Fun lessons, the way of instruction and the school’s facilities were repeated by most students as things that could be changed to make their schools more interesting for them. An analysis of 31 parents interviewed and 39 parents who responded to the questionnaires revealed that mothers are the ones who make educational decisions for their children. The analysis also revealed that the child’s friends, having highly qualified teachers and a school’s safety procedures are the top three common factors that influenced all parents when choosing a certain school type. This research will contribute to future research on similar topics. It targets school reform as it will help school leaders, administrators and teachers better understand what parents and students are looking for when choosing a certain school type.


International & Comparative Education Department

Degree Name

MA in International & Comparative Education

Graduation Date

Summer 12-30-2014

Submission Date

May 2012

First Advisor

Rissmann-Joyce, Stacie

Second Advisor


Third Advisor


Committee Member 1

Megahed, Nagwa

Committee Member 2

Jarrar, Samir

Committee Member 3

Hozayin, Russanne


87 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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