IIE Networker - Spring 2009 - (Page 23)

SPECIAL FOCUS ON QATAR Qatar’s Outstanding Schools Initiative: A New Model for International Linkages in Education By Rachel S. Awad and Ibrahim S. Alnaimi Introduction Over the past decade the State of Qatar has set new standards for educational development. Numerous projects are underway which support Qatar’s commitment to providing its population with the highest levels of international education. These projects include a massive reform of the K-12 public education sector grounded in internationally based Qatar Curriculum Standards, an extensive scholarship program to support Qatari students studying at universities throughout the world, and the establishment of Education City, which is currently home to six top U.S. universities. This past year a new initiative has been added to the mix— Qatar’s Outstanding Schools Initiative. This program is a new and innovative model for bringing some of the world’s best K-12 schools to Qatar. Schools interested in participating in this initiative are invited to respond to an RFP and submit a detailed proposal for establishing a branch of their school in Qatar. Following a rigorous selection process, 2-3 schools are selected to participate each year. These schools operate in a type of public-private partnership with Qatar’s Supreme Education Council. The schools receive start-up and logistical support from the government, yet each school remains a private entity, retaining complete autonomy over its policies, practices and educational programs. Administering this initiative is responsibility of the Outstanding Schools Oversight Committee (OSOC). Established in 2007 as part of Qatar’s Supreme Education Council, the OSOC is comprised of high-level government and private sector officials with vast experience in education. The OSOC is supported by a small full-time staff, which administers the day-to-day operations of the initiative. The OSOC and its staff have two primary tasks: 1. To recruit and select top quality private international schools to open branch campuses in Qatar; and 2. To monitor and support these schools in order to ensure that they maintain the highest educational standards. Rationale behind the Initiative A number of overlapping factors motivated the plan to bring top-quality schools from around the world to establish branches in Qatar. Foremost among these is that the population of Qatar is growapproximately 8,000 new school spaces are needed each year. The second factor is the emphasis of Qatar’s education reform on the principles of “variety” and “choice.” The government is committed to making a range of schools The population of Qatar is growing at a rate that far exceeds the growth in available school spaces. ing at a rate that far exceeds the growth in available school spaces. Qatar’s population is made of native Qataris (approximately 30 percent) and expatriates from around the world (approximately 70 percent) who are working in all aspects of the nation’s development. Studies indicate that in recent years the demand for school spaces in Qatar has grown at an average rate of 12 percent annually, yet the number of available quality school spaces has remained relatively stagnant. Officials in the Ministry of Education anticipate that, given the current rate of growth in Qatar, and instructional programs available in Qatar, and allowing parents to select the schools that best fit the needs of their children. While the main focus of this reform lies within government-funded Independent Schools, the Outstanding Schools Initiative has been established in part to support these same principles. The Outstanding Schools are tuition-driven private schools, but Qatari families are given assistance in the form of reduced fees and governmentfunded vouchers, thus enabling them to consider these schools among their education alternatives. Dr. Ibrahimi Alnaimi of the SEC signs the agreement with the International School of London to establish a branch in Qatar. 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2009

IIE Networker - Spring 2009
 Message from Allan E. Goodman
 IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series: Edward Guiliano, President of New York Institute of Technology
 Best Practices in International Education: 2009 Andrew Heiskell Awards
 HRH Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan Receives IIE Humanitarian Award
 Qatar's Outstanding Schools Initiative: A New Model for International Linkages in Education
 The Community College of Qatar: New Initiative to Meet Emergent National Educational and Labor Market Goals
 Toward a UAE Liberal Studies Stream
 New York University Abu Dhabi and the Research University as Global Network
 Expanding Education Abroad in the Arab World
 The Middle East as a Study Abroad Destination
 Student Flows from the Middle East: Iranian and Saudi Arabian Students in the United States
 The Desert as Meeting Place: Where Students from the Middle East and Around the World Come Together
 A Race to the Top: Helping Jordan Win the Right Race
 The Browser: Index of Advertisers
 IIE Program Profile: IIE's Work in the MENA Region

IIE Networker - Spring 2009