Ola ElRashidy


The decline in educational quality is a worldwide phenomenon that has caused stakeholders to challenge the structure of current systems of centralized governance. It is argued that decentralization of educational governance that would allow more autonomy and increased decision-making authority at the school level, which would ultimately result in improved educational quality. Private language schools in Egypt should have a degree of autonomy to make decisions that would enable them to provide a higher quality education, within a regulatory framework that supports rather than hinders their progress. In reality, these schools are constrained by the central control of curricula, assessment, teachers, budgets, and decision-making, which are ultimately all the influential aspects that define the status of educational quality. The potential that private national schools have in terms of providing quality education, along with the prevalence of decentralization initiatives and the limited research done on private language schools in Egypt has sparked questions about how these schools operate under such a centralized context and how this context affects the quality of education provided there. Other questions were also raised to explore how much autonomy do stakeholders truly have, and whether or not there is a discrepancy between the policy discourse and the implementation of decentralization initiatives. The perceptions of 38 stakeholders from school principals, teachers, parents and officials from the Ministry of Education are demonstrated in this paper in an attempt to address the above questions. Qualitative data from semi-structured interviews was collected from four private language schools in Egypt. Results show that stakeholders appear frustrated with the lack of autonomy granted to them and view this matter as a hindrance to educational quality. Drawbacks associated with centralization such as bureaucracy, ineffective decision-making, and lack of accountability on teachers continue to manifest in private language schools, Stakeholders have indicated that the schools have the potential to assume further responsibility, autonomy and accountability, yet most influential decision-making still takes place at the highest central levels at the MOE. Further along, data analysis shows that there may be multiple impediments to the true implementation of decentralization. The fact remains that educational decentralization continues to be a debatable subject that is challenging to conceptualize, and further research is required to establish its effects, or lack thereof, on educational quality.  


International & Comparative Education Department

Degree Name

MA in Educational Leadership

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2018

First Advisor

Megahed, Nagwa

Committee Member 1

Zaalouk, Malak, Jennifer Skaggs


80 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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