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IELTS Reading Revision – Why is Qatar Investing So Much in Education?

IELTS Reading Revision – Why is Qatar Investing So Much in Education?

Instruction: Read the following passage and answer questions 1-8.

When oil rich countries get involved in global education projects, it is easy to be cynical and only expect some air-brushed philanthropy and gold-plated business school sponsorships. But the Gulf state of Qatar is providing something more substantial.

So much so that it is becoming one of the most significant players in the field of education innovation, supporting a raft of projects from grassroots basic literacy through to high-end university research. As well as trying to fast-forward its own education system, it is supporting projects in some of the toughest environments. The man at the centre of many of Qatar's education initiatives is Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, a member of Qatar's ruling family and a former university professor. Looking at the epic scale of Qatar's spending on education this must make him one of the world's most ambitious ex-teachers.

Future proofing

Speaking in London, he set out the strategic thinking. When the oil runs out, they want to be left with a viable, advanced economy. It's something like lottery winners who buy their children the best education, so that they'll be able to fend for themselves in the years ahead in education in its strategy for a post-oil future. So they're recycling their gas and oil into knowledge - building universities, reforming the school system, improving vocational training and setting up an international forum for finding the most effective forms of innovation. "The blessing of the oil and gas won't last forever - so focusing on something sustainable is more important," says Dr Abdulla.

But a high quality education system is not created overnight - so he says they decided to "jump start" this with overseas partnerships. Eight international universities, predominantly from the US, set up state of the art bases in Qatar's Education City campus. This multi-billion dollar investment, a kind of academic irrigation project, was intended to provide a short-term, accelerated development of a regional research hub. But Dr Abdulla, president of the over-arching university, says the longer-term and tougher challenge is to develop home-grown high-quality institutions. "There is no way forward without putting education as a priority, especially in the Arab world," he says.

Arab Spring

The events of the Arab Spring have shown the dissatisfaction of a young population, with rising unemployment and a lack of opportunities for young graduates. "We need to find an education that serves their needs," he says. But what has been distinctive about Qatar's investment has been its willingness to support international projects. The WISE summit - World Innovation Summit for Education - is designed as a catalyst for innovation. Now in its fourth year, it brings together education leaders to talk about what works in improving schools.

"We want it to be about action - we need things to come out of this three-day meeting and not just talk," he says. The summit identifies examples of good practice - and the accompanying WISE awards have supported projects in Africa, South Asia, South America and Europe. It is also helping to fund the rebuilding of Haiti's schools and health service after the earthquake - a long way from the headlines and its own regional sphere of influence.

Nobel for education

There has never been a Nobel prize for education - and it is the Qataris who have been the first to create an equivalent, launching the WISE prize last year, worth $500,000 (£319,000)zle Hasan Abed was recognised for opening schools in countries such as South Sudan. "We talk about the importance of education, but there was nothing prestigious globally that really reflected that," says Dr Abdulla. The first winner, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed from Bangladesh, was recognised for a lifetime's work bringing basic primary education to some of the world's poorest communities, from Afghanistan to South Sudan.

Linking many of these schemes is the Qatar Foundation, which channels funds towards education and science. The most visible international profile of the Qatar Foundation is on the shirts of Barcelona football club. There is a cultural dimension to all this reaching out, with Qatar acting as a bridge between the West and the Arab world...

Source: BBC

Questions 1-8: Write no more than three words AND/OR a number for each question.

1. Unlike other oil-driven economies, Qatar’s interest and participation in ____________________ is expected to bring about substantial results.

2. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani previously worked for a ____________________

3. Spending on education prepares children in Qatar for a ____________________

4. Policymakers in Qatar wish their country to build and develop its own ____________________

5. The outstanding feature of investment from Qatar is that it sees ____________________ as their targets.

6. Educational and medical infrastructure of Haiti was hit hard by the ____________________

7. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed’s efforts in developing ____________________ made him the first winner of the WISE prize.

8. The Qatar Foundation is a bridge that connects financial aid packages and ____________________

Please find the keys here.

How many correct answers, out of 8, did you get? Please share your result with others by leaving a comment below!

CNBC's Uptin Saiidi explores the global assets of Qatar in his latest “CNBC Explains” video series. Learn more by watching this video:

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