Half of region’s children are failing to learn adequately

by  — 15 March 2014

A new report, published by the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, highlighted significant challenges to education in the Arab world. While Qatar has made some marked improvements, it still has a way to go in developing its education sector.

According to the Brookings Institute, Qatar has around 98 percent enrolment and survival rate from primary to lower secondary school, an increase of 12 percent over the past decade.

The Arab World Learning Barometer provides an overview of the ability of children and young people to access and finish school. The new report shows that as many as 8.5 million children remain excluded from accessing education, and in some cases the quality of education has deteriorated over the past decade. Many countries in the Arab world have seen higher dropouts from lower secondary school compared to that of a decade ago. Qatar, however, has around 98 percent enrolment and survival rate from primary to lower secondary school, which has increased 12 percent over the past decade.

There are also other positives, according to the report. Fewer children are out of school (3.1 million) since 2002 and more children are completing primary school than before.

The learning performance of children in Arab countries is below expectations given the countries’ income levels, states the Brookings report. According to the data, 42 percent of schoolchildren in Qatar’s primary schools are not learning. While this number is high, it is a marked improvement compared to the 82 percent a decade ago, suggesting an unfinished agenda. Secondary schools experienced the same with a drop from 73 percent to 52 percent over the same period.

This, however, is not due to a lack of spending from the government with education as part of total public expenditure increasing from nine percent in the 2000s to 13 percent in 2010. In 2012, government initiatives were spending as much as QAR31,333 a year per student on pre-university education, not including infrastructure development costs.

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