The Saudi Tatweer Education Reforms: Implications of Neoliberal Thought to Saudi Education Policy

  •  Bilal Tayan    


The King Abdullah Public Education Development Project or the ‘Tatweer’ education reforms were created to improve the quality of teaching and learning in Saudi Arabia. It was a response to develop generations of Saudis who would contribute to the economic well-being of the nation. The Saudi Tatweer education reforms have been important in highlighting questions about power, globalisation and divergence. Therefore, set against a background of neoliberal discourse, I will assess the influences and impact of the drivers within Tatweer – a seemingly market-driven set of education reforms. With reference to Foucauldian thought on power and governance, I will also raise some questions on whether the Tatweer reforms were rigorous and effective enough in improving the level of education within the Saudi context. Finally, I will consider the importance of Ball’s (2003) perspective on performativity, and how market forces and international influence have impacted on Saudi education policy reform.

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