Managing education in the United Arab Emirates : a case study in school development
The current educational system in the UAE does not reflect the economic and social status of the country. The country is one of the leading oil producers and petrochemical manufacturers in the world, with a proven oil reserve of more than 98 billion barrels. This wealth has been reflected on most aspects of life including an advanced infrastructure, and prepared the country for the new century. However, this wealth has not equally affected the educational system. It is true that the numbero f studentsw as doubledm oret han 10 times in the pastt hree decades, but the quality of education did not change enough to meet the requirements and challenges of the new century. This thesis examines an innovative educational project aimed at bridging the gap between the education system output and the country's future needs. The project is based on a model school that is designed to enhance the students' academic standards more than the other governmental schools do. The thesis covers a number of issues in ten chapters. It starts with an introduction in chapter one followed by a comprehensive background of the UAE as a country and its educational system in chapter two. Chapter three covers a theoretical framework of the education change process supported by a review of the literature. Chapters four to six are devoted to the model school project. In chapter four the origins of the model school are discussed, while the major changes implemented in the model school are presented in chapter five. These changes cover the areas of: teacher motivation, student motivation, time allocated for education, education materials, and teachers' professional development. Chapter six clarifies the method by which teachers are allocated to work in the model school and the way students are selected to join the school. The case study methodology adopted in this thesis is explained in chapter seven. In ordert o evaluatet he models choolp rojectt he thesisi ncludest wo strands. Strand one is the students' achievement test, and strand two is teacher perception of the changes in the model school. Strand one, which is discussed in chapter eight, compares the achievement test results of third grade students in the model school to that of other schools in Abu Dhabi Education Zone. Strand two which is discussed in chapter nine evaluates the teachers' perception of the changes implemented in the model school. Chapter 10 discusses the relevance of current literature on educational change to the educational system in the UAE. Conclusions and recommendations are presented in chapter eleven.