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Abstract

In the face of rising demand for private schooling in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, a lack of affordable schooling options, monopolistic behavior of private education providers, and unpredictable government regulations have created a complex and unequal education sector. This research employs a mixed methods comparative approach to explore the ways in which private education providers navigate the regulatory schooling environments and assess the impact on education stakeholders in the UAE and Qatar. The study finds that there are considerable socioeconomic differences in terms of who has access to schooling and that a growing for-profit education sector may be deepening existing inequities in both countries, leaving poorer expatriate families only able to access low-quality education or in the worst cases, unable to access education at all. The promise of non-profit providers as a viable alternative to ensure access is explored.