09.08.2017 - UNESCO Office in Doha

UNESCO Doha to present research on "Momentum for Education 2030: Improving the Performance of Education Systems in the Gulf States" in Paris


UNESCO is a place of leading positive change in education and supports the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 at country level. Utilizing research enables countries to learn lessons from national level experiences and gain insights to make informed decisions for improving the quality of learning and to enhance the performance of education systems.

Reflections, debates and research are ongoing at global, regional or national levels to shape a future agenda of education that is responsive to today’s challenges. Within the context of the GCC States, despite the progress made over the past decades in developing educational systems, results in quality of learning outcomes are low when compared to other countries at similar income levels.  It is within this context that UNESCO Doha conducted research on "Momentum for Education beyond 2015: Improving the Quality of Learning Outcomes and Enhancing the Performance of Education Systems in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries".    

In continuation of UNESCO’s commitment to supporting Member States to promote SDG4-Education 2030, the UNESCO Office in Doha and the Education Sector Division for Education 2030 Support and Coordination Section for Partnerships, Cooperation and Research at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, are organizing a presentation and panel debate on the “Momentum for Education 2030: Improving the performance of education systems in the Gulf States,” to be held on 18 September 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at Room IX, UNESCO Headquarters, Fontenoy Building, Paris, France.

During the programme, Dr. Sobhi Tawil, senior education programme specialist, UNESCO HQs will make a presentation on SDG 4 and importance of evidence based policy. Dr. Faryal Khan, education programme specialist, UNESCO Doha, will present key findings of a two-year research study undertaken by the UNESCO Office in Doha and funded by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). Based on regional trends analyses and field research, the study aimed at assessing education quality and learning outcomes in the six Gulf States. As the Gulf States align their educational policies with the 2030 Agenda, the research findings suggest priorities for the way forward and policy interventions towards attaining SDG4-Education 2030.

Ms. Suzanne Grant Lewis, Director of IIEP, H.E. Dr. Hamda Al Sulaiti, Secretary General of UNESCO National Commission in the State of Qatar, and a member of the global steering committee for Education 2030 will provide comments on the research study, its relevance and value added, and how it can provide evidence to inform SDG 4 priorities not just in the Gulf States but also other countries.

The research study provides a review of the quality of education in the GCC countries by examining learning outcomes to enhance the performance of education systems in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Specifically, the case studies review learning outcomes in terms of content (i.e., what to learn) and cognitive skills (i.e., how to learn) by focusing on the elementary level, namely Grade 4 and Grade 8.

More generally, the study examines the nature of prescribed/intended and implemented/taught outcomes and the relation between them through systematic data collection conducted from different stakeholders. Moreover, the analysis provides a synthesis of obstacles and challenges to learning, and priorities to improve educational quality to inform the future education agenda in the Gulf States.

The study gathered data through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze existing learning outcomes, and the extent to which the instructional strategies align with curriculum expectations in math, science, and reading literacy. The case studies provides insights on the achievements as well as challenges and constraints that are impeding improvement in the quality of education and system-performance, as well as inform potential prospects for education post 2015 towards SDG4 Education 2030.

UNESCO Doha Director and Representative to the GCC and Yemen, Dr. Anna Paolini, will attend the panel debate including selected permanent delegations particularly from Arab States, ED sector, members of the panel of experts of the research study, and other stakeholders in education. Their presence affirms the commitment of various stakeholders towards promoting educational quality not just in the Gulf states but also other countries. It also reaffirms special interest to UNESCO in the fulfillment of its leadership  and work towards attaining Sustainable Development Goal 4-Education 2030, which seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

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