Neoliberalism and Qatari preschools: A comparative study of England and Qatar
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Qatar is in the midst of a massive systematic reform designed to convert its schools and Ministry of Education into a world-class competitive educational system according to Education for a New Era. Influenced by neoliberalism as a dominant ideology that treats education as just another service to be bought and sold on the market, Qatar is one of the most active importers of foreign education providers in the world and this adoption or borrowing of educational methods has drastically shaped the educational landscape in therein. Neoliberalism and the adoption of educational methods or strategies have influenced teacher licensing, curriculum, professional development and daily classroom instruction. One expanse of the educational system that has received little attention is the preschool classroom. This paper reports the findings from nonparticipant observations of preschool classrooms in the England and Qatar, followed by personal reflections and experiences regarding Qatari preschool education. The purpose of the study is to examine the policies and practices in the Qatari preschool system and to determine to what degree preschool pedagogical practices are similar to those practices found in England. The analysis illustrates that there are some teaching methods and pedagogical polices that reflect the British system, but teachers in Qatar still require additional professional development in order to adapt and utilize these pedagogical strategies and policies to better meet the Qatari context.