Sunday, October 28, 2007

Poll # 2

Where would you like to study?


United Arab Emirates

Saudi Arabia

Poll # 1

Would you like to study in the Middle East?

Yes, sounds interesting!

No, thank you.

Submission of Parts I and II

Start:     Oct 29, '07 10:00a

UAE Education

Ministry of Education (Saudi Arabia)


Below is the questionnaire that we are planning to present to our key respondents:

- Who or what government agencies are in charge of public tertiary education in your country?

- What is the scope of authority of the persons or agencies in charge of education?

- Is education the number one priority in government services?

- What laws have your country passed to improve public tertiary education?

- How many people are enrolled in colleges and universities in your country?

- How does this number compare vis-a-vis the general population?

- Are the costs for public tertiary education affordable?

- How many state colleges, universities and other tertiary institutions exist in your country?

- How does this number compare vis-a-vis the total population?

- Do your college and university graduates have high employment rates?

- What is the percentage of graduates who are employed domestically and internationally?

- What are the companies and organizations that recruit in public colleges and universities?

- What are the challenges and issues in higher education that your country is currently facing?

- How is the government addressing these challenges and issues?

Primary Data Sources

Our team is planning to conduct an interview with the officials of the embassies of Qatar, UAE and KSA. For information on Qatar, we will request an interview with Ambassador Abdullah Ahmed Yousef Almutawa of the Embassy of the State of Qatar, located in Dasmarinas Village, Makati City. For information on UAE, we will request an interview with Ambassador Mohammed Ebrahim Aljowaid of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, located in Legaspi Village, Makati City. Lastly, for information on KSA, we hope to interview Ambassador Mohammed Ameen Mohammed Wali of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia also located in Makati City. Since the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia has a bigger delegation in the Philippines, we are hoping to interview their attaché for education to provide us with significant information for our study.


In order to conduct an efficient research on the government support on the public tertiary education system in Qatar, UAE and KSA, our team will need to read important books, articles or periodicals to provide us with the background and necessary facts. We will also utilize reliable online resources in order to obtain the necessary information in answering our problem. To obtain firsthand information about our problem, we are planning to conduct an interview with key officials of the embassies of the aforementioned countries in the Philippines. After gathering the sufficient information, we will analyze our data and proceed in identifying the similarities, differences and unique features of our study.  From there we will make a conclusion of our research and provide recommendations for other future researchers.

Scope and Limitations

The theme of our study is the government support on the public tertiary education systems in Qatar, UAE and KSA, and it covers the legal framework provided by the government, the accessibility of public tertiary education to the people, and the linkages between the government, industry and the academe. The time frame for our study will be the 2nd term of the school year 2007-2008. An excluded variable would be the measurement of the competitiveness of the public tertiary education system since it is difficult to set a standard on competitiveness. Private tertiary education will also be excluded from this study, as well as the historical backgrounds or past government actions – we will limit our study only to information from the year 2000 to the present.


We are planning to interview key officials of the respective embassies of the three countries in connection to our study. However, we can not obtain firsthand information or personal interviews from the Ministries of Education which are considered the most reliable sources for this particular research, hence this will be the limitation of our study. Due to this anticipated weakness, we can only rely on their websites and online resources to supplement our facts. We also cannot interview students, college graduates, professors and other significant actors who have firsthand experience on the matter. The limited time frame will also restrict our study into the more important and specific aspects.

Operational Definition of Variables for Comparison

The comparative analysis will study three variables: 1) legal framework of the government on public higher education, 2) accessibility of state colleges and universities and 3) linkages between the government, industry and the academe.

The legal framework refers to the government agencies, the laws passed and the official policies on public tertiary education. Policies can take the form of budgets, funding, priorities, plans, investment, publicity and other factors. This variable focuses on the government.

Accessibility means the number of people enrolled in public tertiary institutions and its relation to the number of high school graduates, the costs of higher education, the number of schools vis-a-vis the population, the time and requirements for enrolling in colleges and universities. This variable studies more the effect of higher education on people and society.

Linkages refer to the employment opportunities, percentage of graduates employed nationally and internationally and connections of public colleges and uniersities to companies, organizations, government and other employers. This variable focuses on the business and private sectors.

Significance of the Study

Through our comparative analysis of the government support in public tertiary education on Qatar, UAE and KSA, we gain more knowledge and new perspectives from the more developed states of the Middle East. The information that we can obtain from our comparative analysis can be used to improve the quality of the Philippine government’s support in our own public tertiary education, as well as improve the overall competitiveness of our country’s educational system. The Philippine government, particularly the Commission on Higher Education, can pattern the support and programs of these three Middle Eastern countries to their public tertiary education system, where they can be considered applicable to the Philippine scenario.

Our study can also contribute to the academe – as they examine the government support in the three countries, there will also be an examination of our own government’s support to the public tertiary education system. The academe, being the most significant sector that is affected by our study, can provide the channel for the Philippine public tertiary education system and can lobby for an improvement in the government support in terms of legal framework, accessibility and linkages with industry.

The society can gain more insights and new perspectives, this time from a Middle Eastern and Asian perspective and not the usual Western perspective. From this comparative study, the society will be able to know the similarities and differences and compare them with our own system. The society, particularly the youth sector, will be the main beneficiary in the improvement of the Philippine government support in the public tertiary education system.

Review of Related Literature


Qatar is a monarchy ruled by the Al-Thani family since the mid-18th century. The country used to be a British protectorate but gained its independence in 1971.

The current emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, assumed his position since 1995 and acts as the head of state. Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani is the head of government since April 2007.

Qatar is a unitary government divided into 10 administrative divisions or municipalities. In 1999 and 2003, Qatar held nationwide elections to the Central Municipal Council.

The monarch holds executive and legislative powers and appoints judicial positions. The Council of Ministers is the state cabinet and members are appointed by the emir. The municipal council can advise the emir on local issues but it has no authority to pass civic laws and can be dissolved by the minister of municipal affairs.

The unicameral Advisory Council can scrutinize policies and make recommendations but has no legislative power. Elections for some positions in the Advisory Council will take place in late 2007 but the remaining members are appointed by the emir. Qatar's Constitution entered into force in 2005.

The judiciary system in Qatar has two main divisions: the Sharia courts and the civil system. Sharia or Islamic law focuses on personal and family issues and certain criminal cases. The civil system tries cases against the state and all other cases not heard in Sharia courts.

The Ministry of Education and the Supreme Education Council are the government agencies in charge of all levels of learning in Qatar. The Higher Education Institute assists Qatari students in the tertiary level. The Education for a New Era is a recent reform initiative to increase autonomy, accountability, variety and choice in Qatari education. The premier public tertiary educational institution is Qatar University.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven Gulf states: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Ummal-Qaiwain. During the 19th century, Britain entered into agreements with the Arab sheikhs for mutual protection and transit in the Persian Gulf. The leaders formed a loose federation when Britain withdrew in 1971.

UAE's government is a federal presidential elected monarchy. The ruler of Abu Dhabi becomes the President of UAE and acts as the head of state. The current President of UAE is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan, who succeeded his father, Sheikh Zayed, the founder of UAE, when the latter died in 2004. The ruler of Dubai becomes the Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and acts as the head of government. The current Prime Minister is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who assumed office in 2006.

The monarchs of each state are members of the Supreme Council of Rulers, the highest body that formulates policy, elects the federal president, ratifies federal laws and appoints judges to the Federal Supreme Court. Each emir retains autonomy over his sheikhdom and determines his own state's policy, especially over mineral rights and revenues.

The Federal National Council is the legislature of the UAE. Half of the members are elected; the other half are appointed by the rulers. The FNC can recommend and review legislation but cannot change or veto laws. UAE had a provisional constitution since independence until 1996, when the constitution became permanent and Abu Dhabi was made the capital.

The legal system is based on a dual system of Sharia and civil courts. The Federal Supreme Court is the highest court in the UAE judicial system and its judges are appointed by the President. The FSC decides legal cases between individual emirates and over the federal government.

The Ministry of Higher Education oversees public tertiary education and admits students to state undergraduate institutions. UAE's public tertiary educational institutions include United Arab Emirates University, Zayed University, Gulf Medical College, University of Sharjah and Higher Colleges of Technology.

Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ruled by the family of Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, the founder of the country. The current ruler is King Abdullah, half-brother of the late King Fahd and son of the first leader of KSA. The king acts as head of state and head of government.

The Saudi monarchy is the central government institution in the country. The Council of Ministers, which is appointed by the king, forms policies and directs the activities of the bureaucracy. KSA has 13 administrative divisions, whose governors are appointed by the king. In 2005, the first municipal elections were held in Saudi Arabia.

Sharia or Islamic law is the basis for the country's legal system. The Quran is the constitution of Saudi Arabia. The Basic Law of 1992 supplements Sharia and describes the government's rights and responsibilities.

Similarities and Differences

Qatar, KSA and UAE share many key similarities in their governments. These states are monarchies where the ruling families have retained power for many yearx. The monarchs often hold executive and legislative authority. Legislative and municipal councils can consult and advise the rulers but have no power to change or make laws. Although the states are not democracies, the citizens can consult with their rulers on certain issues. While Islamic law is a basis for governance, there are many secular and civil codes on economic issues. There is little or no taxation for citizens.

The educational systems in the three states share many qualities. Citizens in these countries enjoy free education from nursery to university. Governments provide many services to students and institutions of higher learning. The states give subsidies and support to students in their degrees at home and overseas.

However, the countries also share some issues on population, education and employment. The states have high population growth rates and majority of the citizens are young people. Many foreigners work in these states and compete with citizens for work. Governments have responded to these issues by focusing on job creation and skills training to boost local employment.

Although Qatar, KSA and UAE share many characteristics, several key differences and striking features exist in their governments and education systems. For example, UAE is a federation while Qatar and KSA are unitary states. In KSA, the King acts as both of head of state and head of government. On the other hand, Qatar and UAE have different rulers assuming the roles of head of state and head of government.

The governments also differed in their focus on tertiary education. Qatar is importing more Western expertise and creating more linkages with other universities. UAE is focusing on research and building more science and technology centers. All three countries are sending more of its citizens to study and train overseas.


Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are located in the Arabian Peninsula along the Persian Gulf. The citizens of these states are mostly Muslims and ethnic Arabs. Though the ruling elites often inherit their titles and authority, Islamic law is the basis of governance. These countries also share a vital natural resource—oil.


Although these countries have enjoyed a long and rich history, their economies greatly changed with the discovery of oil. Beginning in the mid 20h century, these Gulf coast states witnessed a rise in foreign investment and income per capita. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar became welfare states and provided free social services, such as health care and education. However, oil is a non-renewable resource and cannot last forever. These states have realized this situation and have begun to diversify their economies and to address domestic needs and global changes.


A state can diversify and improve its economy by investing in profitable sectors and training its people to become highly skilled and globally competitive. In a world economy that relies more on knowledge and information, it is becoming essential for a country to provide its citizens with good higher educational institutions. Moreover, a government should also anticipate future needs and initiate linkages between the academe, the public and private sectors.


According to the World Bank, an indicator of good governance is the effectiveness of the government’s public services, which include education for its citizens. We chose to examine the government support in the public tertiary education in the belief that it reflects one aspect of the quality of life of the people. Strong government support in the educational system greatly contributes to the welfare of society as well as in the development of the state.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Education for a New Era (Qatar)

Research Problem

The theme of our comparative analysis is the quality of government support in public tertiary education in three Middle Eastern monarchies—Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. We would like to study the legal framework of the government on public tertiary education, the accessibility of public colleges and universities to the people and the linkages between the government, industry and the academe.

Qatar: Past, Present and Future


Tony Blair at Zayed University

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair made a visit to Zayed University's Abu Dhabi Campus on 19 December 2006 as part of an official visit to the United Arab Emirates.


UAE University - Female Campus

UAE University Phase 1 and 2