Theses Doctoral

Gender, Academic Achievement, and Meanings of Schooling in Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

Russell, Cambria Dodd

This study examines an interesting phenomenon: the educational gap between boys and girls in the United Arab Emirates. Drawing on literature in sociology of gender, sociology of education, and Middle East Studies, this dissertation explores who is and who is not academically achieving (defined through exams results, event drop out rates, and intention to graduate from secondary school) in the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, student and teacher beliefs about the meanings of schooling were investigated. The study begins with a broad picture of academic achievement in the United Arab Emirates then focuses on one emirate, Ras Al Khaimah. Ministry of Education data from the 2007-2008 school year, 42 teacher interviews, and 117 student questionnaires provided data for this study. Ministry of Education data were analyzed using chi square tests to determine which boys and which girls are achieving academically in the United Arab Emirates. This analysis confirmed earlier studies that indicated boys are more likely to drop out and to fail exams than their female counterparts. In addition, non-Emirati boys were found to outperform their Emirati peers. The remainder of the study focused on 9th grade boys and girls and their teachers in Ras Al Khaimah. Through logistic regression of data from the questionnaire, student academic self-concept was found to be a significant predictor of student intent to graduate. In addition, the study sought to examine the purposes of schooling according to teachers and students. Results showed that teachers saw the purpose of school as providing increased employment opportunities for girls and for non-Emirati boys. However, teachers did not think school was for employment for Emirati boys. Students reported different ideas about school. They saw school as a means to learning, as a social outlet, and as link to employment opportunities. The dissertation concluded with implications for theory, research and practice.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Comparative and International Education
Thesis Advisors
Cortina, Regina
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 7, 2012