Educational Reform

Other Titles


The dynamic relationship between political, social and educational changes is central to determining whether educational reform occurred in the Muslim world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Changes in curricular and instructional policies and their implications for intellectual and cultural development are discussed in relation to four major issues.

The Muslim world initially rejected as irrelevant changes introduced from Europe in the early nineteenth century. Changes in technical, military, and vocational training dictated by local rulers and elites did not conform to the traditional educational practices that were the remnants of Islamic education. Comparing these practices with recent changes runs the risk of overstating where and how educational reform has taken place.

Available literature indicates that old practices were not reformed and changes resulted in no significant attitudinal or cultural development. Setting the European utilitarian and the Muslim altruistic modes against each other resulted in centralized state-controlled educational institutions and a complete departure from Islamic education.

The intellectual stagnation that characterized the Muslim world since the early fourteenth century remained despite mass and compulsory schooling in the postcolonial era. Recent reports indicate school and teacher shortages, low educational quality, lack of planning and of curricular and instructional compatibility, and disparity in access to and completion of all types and levels of education between the sexes and between rich and poor and rural and urban populations.

Journal / Series

Volume & Issue


Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press. This is a pre-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication in the edited Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available through Oxford University Press: See also:


Date Issued



Oxford University Press


Traditional vs. Islamic education; European imposed changes; State-controlled institutions; Disparity in access to education


Effective Date

Expiration Date




Union Local


Number of Workers

Committee Chair

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Degree Discipline

Degree Name

Degree Level

Related Version

Related DOI

Related To

Related Part

Based on Related Item

Has Other Format(s)

Part of Related Item

Related To

Related Publication(s)

Link(s) to Related Publication(s)


Link(s) to Reference(s)

Previously Published As

in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. John Esposito, ed. Oxford University Press, New York (2009: Volume 2: 142 -148).

Government Document





Other Identifiers


Rights URI



Accessibility Feature

Accessibility Hazard

Accessibility Summary

Link(s) to Catalog Record