Education Reform in the UAE: An Investigation of Teachers' Views of Change and Factors Impeding Change in Ras Al Khaimah Schools
A number of educational reforms were initiated in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2006. Abu Dhabi spearheaded these reforms by setting up the Public Private Partnership (PPP) School Improvement Project in 2006. In cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), the Ministry of Education (MOE) engaged private education providers to share international best practices and improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools across the emirate of Abu Dhabi (Thorne, 2011). In 2007, Dubai launched Madares Al Ghad (Schools of Tomorrow) in collaboration with the MOE, and forty- four schools across the Emirates were targeted for training, professional development, and reform (Farah & Ridge, 2009). The primary goal was a move from rote learning to learner-centered education by employing a new curriculum, assessment framework, and teaching methodology.
In Phase 1 of the study, 96 teachers from middle and secondary state girls’ schools were interviewed and surveyed about their beliefs regarding educational reforms in Ras Al Khaimah. Out of the teachers interviewed, 72 were Emirati and 24 were of non-Emirati Arab nationality. Based on the results from Phase 1, relevant themes were identified for further investigation in Phase 2. The second phase used structured interviews to explore the views of a smaller sample of 20 teachers in greater depth. The results revealed a general consensus that the reforms were largely positive, but some of the teachers were critical of how they were being implemented. A thematic map outlining the issues raised by the teachers in relation to the reforms was produced, and recommendations were given to the Education Zone based on these findings.