1st Edition

Neoliberalism and English Language Education Policies in the Arabian Gulf

ISBN 9780367245153
Published June 5, 2019 by Routledge
234 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

Over the past two decades, the Arabian oil-rich Gulf countries have faced enormous social, political, economic, cultural, religious, ideological and epistemological upheaval. Through detailed, critical comparative investigation, Neoliberalism and English Language Education Policies in the Arabian Gulf examines the impact of such disruption on education policies in a political and economic union, consisting of six countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. 

Using data collected from a wide range of sources, this thought-provoking book documents the inner workings of neoliberalism across a strategic geographical area of the Islamic world. The book teases apart the complex issues surrounding the ways in which access to English has been envisioned, contested, and protected from being challenged among different players within and between the Gulf countries. Osman Z. Barnawi explores the intensifying ideological debates between Islamic culture and Western neoliberal values, and questions whether Islamic values and traditions have been successfully harmonised with neoliberal capitalist development strategies for nation building in the Arabian Gulf region. 

Neoliberalism and English Language Education Policies in the Arabian Gulf will be of interest to academics, researchers and postgraduates working in the fields of language education and, more specifically, TESOL, applied linguistics, education policy, and teacher education.

Table of Contents

List of Tables 



Organisation of the Book 

1. Neoliberalism and its Key Concepts 

2. The Arabian Oil-Rich Gulf Countries Today 

3. Islam, Neoliberalism and Education in the GCC Region 

4. Researching Neoliberal Language Education Orientations in the Arabian Gulf Countries 

5. Neoliberalism and English Education Policy in Saudi Arabia 

6. Neoliberalism and English Language Education Policy in the UAE  

7. The Architecture of a Neoliberal English Education Policy in Qatar 

8. Neoliberal English Language Education Policy in Oman 

9. Neoliberalism and the English Language Education Policy in the ‘New Kuwait’  

10. Neoliberalism and the English Education Policy Agenda in Bahrain Today 

11. A Comparative Investigation of English Education and Neoliberal Education Policies across the Arabian Gulf Countries 

12. The Future of English Education in the Arabian Gulf Countries 


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Dr Osman Z. Barnawi is Associate Professor of Composition and TESOL. He is the former Managing Director of Yanbu English Language Institute at the Royal Commission Colleges and Institutes, Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. He is now the Managing Director of Yanbu Technical Institute at the Royal Commission Colleges and Institutes.


‘Osman Barnawi's well-researched exploration of the intersections of neoliberal ideologies and practices re-shaping English language policies and their implementations and ensuing resistances in the contexts of the Arabian Gulf countries is a highly significant and much-needed contribution to the growing field of research on neoliberalism's worldwide impact.’ - Christian W. Chun, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA.

‘Barnawi demonstrates how neoliberalism functions not merely as an economic project, but as a cultural-ideological one as well. His sharp, detailed analysis of English-language policies in the Gulf States reveals that the drive to lure private investment and satisfy global markets not only displaces the learning of Arabic, but facilitates a decrease in overall funding for such common goods as education and social services, reduces the aims of education to profit and wealth accumulation, and may serve to compromise Islamic values of cooperation and solidarity. Ultimately, Barnawi’s call for a sustained, critical examination of the role of neoliberalism within Arab societies offers an opportunity to ask important questions about the regimes of truth that shape the priorities of nation-states and our everyday lives.’ - Michael J. Dumas, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, USA.