Enhancing K-12 Performance in Qatar
“We did not follow traditional ways in the preparation of operational plans. (…) We and our key partners (…) have the ambition, the will and the skilled national competencies (…) which qualified us to work in the implementation of the well thought out plans. These follow the principle of performance and achievement measurement using tools that are characterized by transparency, continuity and parallel to the methodology of the implementation processes (…)” – Saad bin Ibrahim Al-Mahmoud, Minister of Education and Higher Education, Qatar
Tales were told and conclusions were reached, and somehow we have unanimously agreed that the way to get ahead is by first admitting the challenges we face. As such, we have made a conscientious decision thereafter, to also equip ourselves with the right tools to defeat those challenges.
Whether it is people, organizations or governments, performance management has somehow made humanity aware of the need for coherence. Entities all over the world have claimed the use of performance management tools in their toil for self-improvement, however, it is not adoption but standardization that best enables consistency.
In its pursuit of the Qatar National Vision 2030, The Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Qatar actively responds to the need for continuous improvement through the execution of the National Development Strategy 2011-2016. As such, the main challenges are as follows:
- the underachievement level of students in math, sciences and the English language at all levels;
- existing weaknesses in educational administration and the development of teachers;
- insufficient alignment between the national curriculum and the needs of the labor market;
- low standards in some private schools;
- limited opportunities for continuous education after secondary school.
In response to the aforementioned challenges, The Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Qatar created a number of five programs, namely:
1) Core and Cross-Cutting Education and Training;
2) Improving K-12 General Education;
3) Improving Higher Education;
4) Strengthening Technical and Vocational Education and Training;
5) Enhancing Scientific Research.
The programs are outcome-based and they advocate the use of performance management tools such as Key Performance Indicators, targets and project-based initiatives. The need for standardization is best perceived within the program aimed at improving K-12 general education, where a differentiation between KPIs, targets and initiatives is implied.
Proper standardization ensures that the performance management terminology is uniformly distributed, used and understood, so as to facilitate compatibility and interoperability. As such:
KPIs should start with 3 types of symbols: $ = Value of; # = Number of; % = Percentage of. This approach will guarantee that KPIs are easily identified within the performance report. Furthermore, using this technique will ensure efficiency in KPI naming and will eliminate redundancy.
Objectives should start with action verbs and they can be a simple statement of something that the company wants to achieve. Lengthy and complicated objective statements can create confusion and are difficult to communicate, both internally and externally.
Initiatives should start with nouns, so as to provide an indication of the specific activity and effort the organization has to put forward, in order to achieve the set objectives.
All things considered, standardization provides a formal convention by which we choose to speak a common language. Even though not as specific as mathematics or physics, the general language of performance management should facilitate efficient interactions and crystal clear mutually agreed-upon decisions.
Such an approach guarantees a uniform understanding of performance within an organization. Moreover, it simplifies communication, enhances transparency and streamlines procedures.