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Theses Doctoral

Mathematics Education in Qatar from 1995 to 2018

Abdelsattar, Soha

Research on the relationship between mathematics education and society has established that societal change can have a direct effect on mathematics education. Qatar experienced a large amount of societal change since its leadership change in 1995. The literature would suggest that changes in mathematics education in Qatar would follow. The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in mathematics education in Qatar from 1995 until 2018 and to understand the reasons for these changes. This study applied historic research methods in the form of primary source analysis. The primary sources consisted of text analysis and in-depth interviews. The texts included published reports from the Ministry of Education in Qatar and Qatari mathematics textbooks. Seven in-depth, semi-flexible interviews were conducted with educators involved with Qatar’s mathematics education system within the timeframe of interest.

The findings revealed that there were significant changes in mathematics education in Qatar during this timeframe. Specifically, changes were made to the mathematics standards and curriculum, the mathematics language of instruction, mathematics assessments, and mathematics teachers’ preparation. New mathematics standards were created, and government-issued textbooks were abandoned for many years to encourage autonomy and creativity. The language of instruction in the mathematics classroom was transitioned from Arabic to English, and then back to Arabic again. New, national mathematics assessments were created to track the new mathematics reform project. They were later abandoned.

The reasons for these many changes, and the challenges they created, touched on many different areas of research in mathematics education and sociology. These included policy borrowing, the language of instruction, knowledge societies, rentier societies, and the relationship between mathematics and society. The findings from this study confirmed that the rapid societal changes that occurred in Qatari society during this timeframe were mirrored by rapid changes in mathematics education within the country.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Karp, Alexander P.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 10, 2020