School Textbooks in the MENA Region

Religion and Textbook Reforms in Arab Countries

Following a workshop on diversity and environmental challenges in 2016 this meeting was held on Octobre 1  and 2, 2017 in Casablanca with the aim to discuss recent and ongoing textbook reforms in different Arab countries. A focus it put on changes in the representation and teaching of Islam in different subjects but with an emphasis on textbooks for religious instruction in schools.
In some Arab countries, textbooks are constantly revised, others engage in a reform of curricula and textbooks in the light of Islamic extremism and with the aim to counter the radicalization of young citizen. This raises questions on what is changed in order to fight extremism. What educational contents are newly evaluated as problematic? How are these textbook revisions discussed in politics, media, society and among educators? How can we possibly evaluate the effectiveness of such reforms? How are reforms viewed in other Arab countries? Are they perceived as necessary and adequate tools to counter radicalization?


An international conference on textbooks in the Arab world was held on 20 and 21 November 2016 in Cairo. Delegates discussed the representation of religious diversity and environmental issues in textbooks for political and social studies which reflect ideas of citizenship, social cohesion and societal diversity in particularly noteworthy ways. The conference aimed to promote dialogue on education reform and textbook revision in the region, create links to previous projects run by the GEI in this arena and provide a space for the development of ideas for future cooperation in research.

The conference based its discussions on analysis of textbooks and curricula from the relevant countries which engage with topics of significance to political and cultural debate and communication within the region and between it and Europe. We hope the dialogue with researchers from the Arab world for which the conference provided a forum will generate inspiration for researchers to engage with matters of diversity and environmental issues in German-language textbooks.

20 and 21 November 2016
German Science Center Kairo, El Saleh Ayoub Straße 11, Zamalek, Ägypten
Conference languages are English und Arabic


Programme of most recent meeting

Das vorläufige Programm der Konferenz können Sie hier einsehen.

20. November


Riem Spielhaus, Georg-Eckert-Institut, Deutschland
Eckhardt Fuchs, Georg-Eckert-Institut, Deutschland

Keynote Speech “Education for Difference”
Sami Nassar, Kairo Universität, Ägypten

Kontext: German textbooks on environmental change and religious education

Mustafa Elhalougi, Al-Azhar Universität, Ägypten &
Mahmoud Haggag, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Deutschland
Tobias Ide, Georg-Eckert-Institut, Deutschland

Representations of Religious Diversity and Environmental Problems – case studies from Egypt and Yemen
Amany M. Taha Mostafa & Farouk Gafer Abdelhakem Marzouk, Kairo Universität, Ägypten
Abdulkhaleq Qannaf Shaif Alwan, Action Contre la Faim, Jemen

Representations of Religious Diversity and Environmental Problems – case studies from Morocco and Palestine
Khalil Bader, Palästina
Elarbi Imad, Moroccan Center for Civic Education, Morokko


21. November

Practical Perspectives
Education for Religious Diversity: the UNESCO tool-kit
Inga Niehaus, Georg-Eckert-Institut, Deutschland

Peace Education
Sami Adwan, Peace Research Institute in the Middle East, Palästina

Future Activities on Textbooks

School Textbooks in the MENA Region: Prospects on Future Exchange
Mustafa El-Labbad, Al Sharq Center for Regional and Strategic Studies, Ägypten

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