‘Successful’ alternative education: Still reproducing inequalities? The case of the Community School Program in Egypt

Lucy El-Sherif, University of Toronto, Canada
Sarfaroz Niyozov, Aga Khan University

This work was published before the author (Sarfaroz Niyozov) joined Aga Khan University.


Community schooling is an alternative form of education that centers on partnerships between the community and/or the state, aid organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The Community School Program (CSP) in Egypt sparked a social movement in education in that country, with disparate actors all coalescing around the CSP as an alternative, empowering model of education. This study, drawing upon data from indepth interviews and observations, examined the relationship between the CSP and the dynamics that formed, shaped and co-opted it. Our analysis examined the program’s processes and legacies on its former students. The study found that critical factors in the program’s success were its cost for the students, physical proximity, and quality teaching. After completing the program, these students faced significant challenges in mainstream secondary education. The CSP model is now converging with mainstream education. The interplay of national and global discourses shaped the CSP’s formation and continues to shape students’ social and academic learning through the evolution of its program.