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Title: A comparative study between public and private school provision in the Sultanate of Oman
Authors: Al-Rahbi, Fathiya Hamed Sulaiman
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: There has been recent interest in the role of private education as an alternative to state education in Oman. It has been presumed that private sector interventions will help enhance educational quality. This study aimed to examine the strengths and weaknesses of both government and private schools in Oman to explore these claims. The two systems are examined in terms of student’s academic achievements and the satisfaction of the main stakeholders – students, teachers and parents. This study aims to fill the gap in school effectiveness research in Arab countries with a focus on Oman. A mixed-method approach was employed to answer the research questions. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected in two stages. To generate empirical evidence of student academic achievement, a secondary analysis was performed on TIMSS 2015 mathematics assessment data for grade 8. In addition, a teachers’ job satisfaction survey was administered in public and private schools. In the second stage, in-depth semi-structured interviews were carried out with teachers and focus group discussions were employed with students to consider their perceptions of effectiveness and help triangulate the quantitative findings. The results show that the achievement of private school students in mathematics is statistically significantly higher than that of their counterparts in government schools. This advantage persists even when the socioeconomic status of students is held constant. This finding is consistent with previous studies in different parts of the world. Participants’ views of their schools provide an insight into their perceptions of school effectiveness. In general, parents and students seem to prefer private schools, albeit for different reasons. While the parents’ primary reason for preferring private schools is academic achievement, the students’ main focus is on teaching quality and teacher–student relationships. Based on the teachers’ satisfaction survey, teachers in government schools are more satisfied with management, while teachers in private schools are more satisfied with their work conditions and parental involvement in their schools. Teachers in private schools are also more satisfied with their work as teachers. The qualitative data show most teachers prefer to work in the state sector, primarily because of the financial benefits offered by the government (salary, allowances, pension). However, there is no consensus on what makes a school more effective among the different school management participants. The thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge of the education system in Oman and argues that there is scope for closer collaboration between private and government school systems and that these could learn from each other.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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