Through the engagement of international organizations with the region, the concept of knowledge-based economy has taken on an expanded meaning in the Arab region. The Arabized concept of knowledge economy is fused with other development challenges not part of the Western conception of the term such as large-scale education and training system reform (UNDP, 2002; UNDP, 2003; UNESCO, 2005; World Bank 2007; MbRAM Foundation and UNDP, 2009). Influenced by the gradual adoption of knowledge economy as a widespread regional policy goal beginning in the early 1990s, in January 2007 the Planning Council of Qatar and Qatar Foundation sought the assistance of the World Bank to perform a knowledge economy assessment and articulate a national vision. At the time, a background analysis for the World Bank report observed the following education and training issues: “few links and formal relationships between the training institutions and the needs of the labor market; education and training institutions are highly separated with little coordination; no linkages between training and job career prospects; and most of the training centers lack human and financial resources. In general, there is a lack of an overall strategy for workforce development in Qatar (World Bank Institute, 2007).”
To address these challenges, the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016 (Qatar General Secretariat for Development Planning, 2011) sets three system-wide education and training policy objectives: quality, equity and inclusiveness, and portability and mobility. Primarily receiving technical assistance for institutional capacity development as aid from international organizations, the Qatari government, through the Supreme Education Council, serves as the regulator, provider, and funder of the education and training system while playing a strong role in defining industrial economic development policy. In line with the Paris Declaration, Qatar is currently in the process of establishing results-oriented reporting and performance assessment frameworks to more effectively manage increased resources devoted to the education and training sector. These frameworks are aimed at using information on results to improve implementation of reforms, policy making, increase transparency, and assess progress against national and sectoral development strategies.
By defining specific policy areas for education reform, we devised a performance management framework to track delivery upon goals set out in the National Development Strategy at two levels to ensure that empirically supported socio-cultural and economic benefits attributable to education and training are achieved:
• Policy-based key performance indicators measure system performance relative to the achievement of the overarching policy aims of quality, equity, and portability;
• Output KPIs measure the effectiveness of the education and training system in terms of achieving academic, social, and economic outcomes which are precursors to the future development of Qatar.