AbstractQatar's Education for a New Era reform changed the landscape of education in the country. Due to its scope and impact, the reform remains a topic of interest for Qatar's educators and researchers after sixteen years from its launch in 2004. The reform restructured how education was governed; shifting from a strictly centralised to a decentralised system that emphasised novel principles: autonomy, choice, variety, and accountability. With heavy reliance on western agencies in the design and implementation, the reform plans did not roll out as smoothly as expected and policymakers received continuous criticism. In 2016, the government called for more control and claimed its authority returning to centralised control over government schools.
Although many of the reform initiatives and principles came to an end, accountability remained because of its alignment with a centralised education system. Hence, the thesis investigates the principle of accountability to identify its core mechanisms, learn about the perceptions of stakeholders, and elicit lessons learned to inform future improvement efforts. The thesis consists of six chapters that provide a clear description of the Qatari educational context, an extensive survey of literature, a description of the research methodology, and a thorough discussion of findings to address the research objectives. The thesis uses qualitative methods that include document analysis and interviews to answer the research questions.
The thesis revealed three key findings: (1) the implementation of the core accountability mechanisms was inconsistent and lacked coherence; (2) the accountability mechanisms were ambiguous and unclear, and (3) the system's capacity hindered successful implementation of the mechanisms. The thesis findings emphasise two key dimensions of accountability: the human and institutional. The findings regarding the human dimension confirm that stakeholder involvement, capacity, and buy-in are important for enhancing accountability in any system. On the other hand, the institutional findings confirm that ambiguity of some accountability mechanisms, absence of clear plans, and inconsistent implementation hinder successful application of accountability mechanisms in educational systems. The recommendations call for more coherence in implementing current accountability mechanisms with more stakeholder engagement and capacity building at the school level.
|Date of Award
|17 Nov 2021
|Michael Fertig (Supervisor) & Meng Tian (Supervisor)