Aligning Post-Secondary Educational Choices to Societal Needs

A New Scholarship System for Qatar

by Catherine H. Augustine, Cathy Krop


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Qatar is experiencing unprecedented social and economic development, which is inextricably linked to increased participation in the global market. Growing employment opportunities for Qatari nationals require greater attention to post-secondary education and the development of specific high-demand skills. Since the 1970s, Qatar has complemented its in-country post-secondary-education options by supporting scholarship programs and study-abroad opportunities at the graduate and undergraduate levels, particularly for programs not available locally. However, the existing system was neither coherently designed nor consistently executed, resulting in few incentives for scholarship recipients to attend institutions that were appropriate for their and the country's needs. Therefore, RAND was asked to provide recommendations for reforming the system so that it would complement and promote Qatar's national K–12 reforms, utilize the expanding high-quality post-secondary options available in the country, and meet the labor-related, civic, and cultural needs generated from Qatar's significant economic and social development. This report summarizes the resulting evaluation of the old system and describes proposed reforms that were developed over the course of comparative assessments of countries with similar characteristics to Qatar and interviews with a wide-ranging group of stakeholders. Since the time of the study, Qatar's Supreme Education Council has adopted and adapted most of the recommendations reported here.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Goals and Guiding Principles for Qatar's Scholarship System

  • Chapter Three

    Qatar's Scholarship Programs

  • Chapter Four

    Recommendations for New Scholarship System Programs

  • Chapter Five

    Scholarship System Infrastructure and Implementation

  • Chapter Six


  • Appendix A

    Survey of Selected Scholarship Programs

  • Appendix B

    Scholarship Programs in Countries with Similarities to Qatar

  • Appendix C

    Sample of Interview Protocols

  • Appendix D


The research described in this report was prepared for the Supreme Education Council and conducted within the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute and RAND Education, programs of the RAND Corporation.

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