International Review of Education

, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 173–189 | Cite as

The private–public literacy divide amid educational reform in Qatar: What does PISA tell us?

Article

Abstract

The education system in Qatar comprises of both private schools, which receive money through student fees, and public schools, which are fully government-funded. In the mid-2000s, Qatar started its transition towards an independent school model with the aim of eventually converting all public schools into government-supported independent schools. The idea was to give public schools more autonomy in terms of hiring decisions, adoption of curriculum and textbooks, and budget spending, enabling them to emulate some of the private schools’ strategies for turning out successful students. This study examines evidence from the 2006–2012 administrations of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in Qatar in order to evaluate whether or not recent educational reform efforts in this country have succeeded in bridging the literacy divide between private and public schools. The results, presented in a number of detailed tables and discussed in the last part of the article, indicate that there is a significant difference in key literacy skills between the two types of schools. Private schools were found to outperform their public counterparts in areas such as mathematics, reading and science, both before and after controlling for important student-level differences, and this gap has evidently persisted from 2006 to 2012.

Keywords

Public school Private school Qatar Literacy gap PISA ANCOVA 

Résumé

Le fossé public/privé de l’alphabétisation durant la réforme éducative au Qatar : que nous révèle l’étude PISA ? Le système éducatif du Qatar compte à la fois des établissements privés qui se financent par les frais de scolarité, et des écoles publiques entièrement subventionnées par l’État. Au milieu des années 2000, le Qatar a entamé une transition vers un modèle d’établissement indépendant dans le but final de transformer toutes les écoles publiques en établissements autonomes financés par l’État. L’intention était d’attribuer aux écoles publiques une plus grande autonomie dans les décisions de recrutement, l’adoption des programmes d’études et manuels ainsi que dans l’utilisation budgétaire, leur permettant ainsi de s’inspirer de certaines stratégies des écoles privées pour former de bons élèves. La présente étude examine les données du Programme international pour le suivi des acquis des élèves (PISA) appliqué au Qatar entre 2006 et 2012, en vue d’évaluer si les récents efforts de réforme éducative dans le pays sont parvenus à combler le fossé de l’alphabétisation entre les écoles publiques et privées. Les résultats, présentés dans de nombreux tableaux détaillés et analysés dans la dernière partie de l’article, signalent une différence notable dans les compétences de base entre les deux types d’établissement. Les écoles privées sont plus performantes que leurs homologues publiques dans les matières telles que mathématiques, lecture et sciences, à la fois avant et après prise en compte d’importantes différences de niveaux scolaires, et ce fossé s’est à l’évidence maintenu entre 2006 et 2012.

References

  1. Bélanger, P. (2009). Literacy and lifelong learning. In P. Jarvis (ed.), The Routledge international handbook of lifelong learning (pp. 80–90). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Berrebi, C., Martorell, F., & Tanner, J. (2009). Qatar’s labor markets at a crucial crossroad. The Middle East Journal, 63(3), 421–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Braun, H., Jenkins, F., & Grigg, W. (2006). Comparing private schools and public schools using hierarchical linear modeling (NCES 2006–461). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  4. Brewer, D., Augustine, C., Zellman, G., Ryan, G., Goldman, C., Satsz, C., & Constant, L. (2007). Education for a new era: Design and implementation of K–12 education reform in Qatar. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, G., & Micklewright, J. (2004). Using international surveys of achievement and literacy: A view from the outside. Montreal, Canada: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.Google Scholar
  6. Caldwell, B. (2010). Is private schooling becoming the preferred model of school choice in Australia? Journal of School Choice, 4(4), 378–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carbonaro, W. (2006). Public–private differences in achievement among kindergarten students: Differences in learning opportunities and student outcomes. American Journal of Education, 113(1), 31–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cheema, J. (2014). The migrant effect: An evaluation of native academic performance in Qatar. Research in Education, 91, 65–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen, J. (1992). Quantitative methods in Psychology: A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 155–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Constant, L., Goldman, C.A., Zellman, G.L., Augustine, C.H., Galama, T., Gonzalez, G., Guarino, C.A., Karam, R., Ryan G.W., & Salem, H. (2010). Promoting quality and variety through the public financing of privately operated schools in Qatar. Journal of School Choice, 4(4), 450–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coulson, A. (2009). Comparing public, private, and market schools: The international evidence. Journal of School Choice, 3(1), 31–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dargin, J. (2007). Qatar’s natural gas: The foreign-policy driver. Middle East Policy, 14(3), 136–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Espinoza, O., & González, L. E. (2013). Access to higher education in Chile: A public vs. private analysis. Prospects, 43(2), 199–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Filer, R., & Münich, D. (2013). Responses of private and public schools to voucher funding. Economics of Education Review, 34, 269–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Friedman, M. (1955). The role of government in education. In R. Solo (ed.), Economics and the public interest. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Gonzalez, G., Le, V., Broer, M., Mariano, L., Froemel, J., Goldman, C., & DaVanzo, J. (2009). Lessons from the field: Developing and implementing the Qatar student assessment system, 2002–2006. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
  17. Greenwald, R., Hedges, L., & Laine, R. (1996). The effect of school resources on student achievement. Review of Educational Research, 66(3), 361–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guarino, C., & Tanner, J. (2012). Adequacy, accountability, autonomy and equity in a Middle Eastern school reform: The case of Qatar. International Review of Education, 58(2), 221–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. IMF (International Monetary Fund) (2013). Transitions and tensions. World economic outlook, October 2013. Washington, DC. International Monetary Fund.Google Scholar
  20. Kenayathulla, H. (2013). Higher levels of education for higher private returns: New evidence from Malaysia. International Journal of Educational Development, 33(4), 380–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Khalaf, S., & Alkobaisi, S. (1999). Migrants’ strategies of coping and patterns of accommodation in the oil-rich gulf societies: Evidence from the UAE. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 26(2), 271–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Knight, J., & Morshidi, S. (2011). The complexities and challenges of regional education hubs: Focus on Malaysia. Higher Education, 62(5), 593–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Levy, D. (2012). How important is private higher education in Europe? A regional analysis in global context. European Journal of Education, 47(2), 178–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Levy, D. (2013). The decline of private higher education. Higher Education Policy, 26, 25–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lubienski, S., Lubienski, C., & Crane, C. (2008). Achievement differences and school type: The role of school climate, teacher certification, and instruction. American Journal of Education, 115(1), 97–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McEwan, P. (2000). The potential impact of large-scale voucher programs. Review of Educational Research, 70(2), 103–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McEwan, P. (2004). The potential impact of vouchers. Peabody Journal of Education, 79(3), 57–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Modarres, Ali. (2010). Migration and the Persian Gulf: Demography, identity and the road to equitable policies. Anthropology of the Middle East, 5(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) (2009). PISA 2006 technical report. Paris, France: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  30. OECD (2011). School questionnaire for PISA 2012. Paris, France: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  31. OECD (2012). PISA 2009 technical report. Paris, France: OECD Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. OECD (2013). PISA 2012 assessment and analytical framework. Paris, France: OECD Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sandefur, J., Watkins, K., & Green, D. (2013). Public versus private education: What the debate in the developing world teaches us. Solutions, 4(5). Accessed 9 February 2015 from http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/24108.
  34. Shafiq, M. (2011). Do school incentives and accountability measures raise skills in the Middle East and North Africa? The cases of Jordan and Tunisia. Review of Middle East Economics and Finance 7(2), 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stitzlein, S. (2013). For-profit charter schools and threats to the publicness of public schools. Philosophical Studies in Education, 44, 88–99.Google Scholar
  36. Thapa, A. (2013). Does private school competition improve public school performance? The case of Nepal. International Journal of Educational Development, 33(4), 358–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. von Davier, M., Gonzalez, E., & Mislevy, R. J. (2009). What are plausible values and why are they useful? IERI Monograph Series: Issues and Methodologies in Large-Scale Assessments, 2, 9–36.Google Scholar
  38. World Bank (2008). The road not traveled: Education reform in the Middle East and North Africa. MENA Development report. Washington, DC: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank.Google Scholar
  39. Wu, M. (2005). The role of plausible values in large-scale surveys. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 31(2), 114–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zellman, G.L., Ryan, G.W., Karam, R., Constant, L., Salem, H., Gonzalez, G., Orr, N., Goldman C.A., Al-Thani, H., & Al-Obaidli, K. (2009). Implementation of the K–12 education reform in Qatar’s schools. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

Personalised recommendations