Teachers’ Experiences of Marketization in the United Arab Emirates


The compulsory education sector of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) provides insight into the effects of the marketization of education. Quality assurance by UAE government agencies has required international comparative testing, the results of which have highlighted the uniqueness of the school system in the UAE and the need for investigation into teachers’ experiences. This study was a part of a mixed-methods investigation of teachers’ experiences in marketized systems. Teachers working in for-profit international schools were interviewed. Items were developed based around themes of the initial findings of marketization, control, buffering, and fulfillment. Then, teachers in the UAE were surveyed to find quantitative patterns in their experiences. The findings from the quantitative study show that across types of schools, teachers in the UAE experience the direct effects of a marketized school system and the indirect effects that influence interactions at their workplaces. While the direct effects demonstrate how teachers’ work is modified to be more business oriented, the indirect effects reveal the threats teachers feel regarding their professional judgment, hierarchical relationships, and social pressures due to the marketization of schools. Future research should investigate a broader range of schools for how teachers are affected by the marketization of their school.


Marketization, Teachers’ work, Teachers’ experiences, Education policy

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