In 2002, Qatar began establishing publicly funded, privately operated "independent schools" in parallel with the existing, centralized Ministry of Education system. The reform that drove the establishment of the independent schools included accountability provisions such as (a) measuring school and student performance and (b) distributing school performance information to parents. Because parental demand for the new schools exceeds supply, the effectiveness of parental choice in promoting accountability is limited. The independent schools showed higher student achievement (in elementary grades) and significant changes in classroom practices on the basis of 2005-2007 data. In 2009, the government announced that all ministry schools would convert to independent schools. In addition, over time, vouchers would become available to allow per-student funding to be used in some private schools.
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