This report assesses the current status of the education and social protection systems in 11 southern and eastern Mediterranean countries. It compares these countries using various education indicators and attempts to highlight the main differences in the social protection systems among the countries using qualitative analysis. The report finds that despite the differences among the countries, they share a common feature: when measured by the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index (HDI), their inequality-adjusted values are significantly lower than their HDI values and ranks when not taking inequality into account. Nevertheless, significant improvements have been achieved in all the quantitative indicators for education, while the qualitative performance is still modest in the majority of the countries studied. As to the social protection aspect, the research reveals that various social protection programmes are being adopted in the 11 countries. As most of their financing is covered by government budgets, however, this places a high fiscal burden on them. Yet few of the countries (Turkey being the most notable) are trying to improve the sustainability of their social insurance schemes.
Alia el Mahdi is Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University; Ola el Khawaga is also Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science at the same university; Ashraf el Araby is Assistant Professor of Economics at the National Institute of Planning in Cairo.