Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Art in Multi Cultural Studies

First Advisor

Raymond Scupin

Second Advisor

Suzanne Sakahara

Third Advisor

Wanita Zumbrunnen


This thesis focuses on the developments in education in the Arab world .. It begins with a broad historical survey of traditional education in the Middle East. Traditional educational institutions are viewed in the context of the Islamic religious heritage and the various Islamic dynasties which developed throughout the Middle East. Then, the consequences of the Western influence on Arab education are explored. A brief history of Western colonial interests in the Middle East is given focusing on the effects of these colonial interests on the traditional educational programs. The Western impact began the process of modernization in the Arab world. Societies such as Egypt initiated broad-scale reforms in their educational institutions in order to transform their economic and technological infrastructures. Other Middle East Arab societies gradually followed in the footsteps of Egypt transforming their traditional educational programs and procedures.

Finally, an examination of modernization in education in Saudi Arabia is offered as a case study of how a specific Arab society is attempting to modernize its educational system while conserving its religious values and traditions. Various factors are isolated which have enabled Saudi Arabia to maintain its religious heritage in the face of the rapid modernization of its educational institutions.

The conclusion of the thesis is that, at least in the case of Saudi Arabia, the modernization of education will take a different form from that taken in Western societies. In the West modernization was linked with the secularization of educational institutions. But in Saudi Arabia modernization in education has been conjoined with Islamicization in education. This has, so far, enabled the Saudi state to maintain Islamic values and norms in the midst of rapid modernization. It is predicted that basic Islamic values, institutions, and norms will endure in Saudi society despite major changes in the economic structure. implications for other Islamic rapidly modernizing.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License