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Who Benefits from Private Education in the UAE and Qatar?

Over the last three decades, continued expatriate population growth across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar has created an unprecedented demand for private education. However, a combination of a lack of affordable private education options, monopolistic behaviors of private education providers, and a mix of government regulations have resulted in serious issues surrounding access and quality. This policy paper presents the nature and implications of private school provision for access and equity in K-12 education in the UAE and Qatar. We find that, across the populations of these countries, there are considerable socioeconomic differences that determine who has access to private schooling. As a result of increasing growth in the for-profit private education sector in both countries, poorer families are ultimately left less able to access quality education than are their wealthier counterparts. The potential of non-profit schools to create greater equity and accessibility is discussed, and recommendations for policymakers are offered.

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