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Furaih Al Huraish

DBA Graduate - 2019

Thesis title

DETERMINANTS OF PARENTAL SCHOOL CHOICE Impact of Cultural Values on Educational Choices: The case of Private International Schools in the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia

Supervisor(s)

Caroline Gauthier
Purpose This research attempts to explore the determinants of parents’ school choice in an Eastern culture by studying the factors that influence parents in their selection of a school for their children. The study is conducted in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and focuses on private International schools. Design/ Methodology This study uses a survey specifically designed for this research using literature. Quota sampling was used, generating 214 responses from Eastern Province parents whose children studied in private International schools. The relationship between the factors parents perceive as important in school choice and their satisfaction with the school are tested on the developed constructs. Findings This research is based on the foundation that significant cultural differences exist between the Western countries, on which ample literature already exists, and the Eastern country Saudi Arabia, where this research is conducted. Focusing on the international school environment, findings reveal that parents consider academic quality and management as the most important aspects of schools. Strong family and social factors also influence parents’ decision-making, whereas higher financial charges of schools hinder parents’ selection. Research Limitations/ Implications This study takes a progressive step in exploring parents’ school selection in Saudi Arabia, with significant inferences for the Eastern/ Arab culture. Future scholars may expand further and investigate the differences in the preferences of parents from various cultures, express the research question using a different culture model, or explore the reasons parents look towards private schools in an Arab context. Limitations consist of non-probability sampling, inability to cover other provinces, and lack of regional literature on the subject. Practical Implications School administrators may take heed from this research and focus on improving their management and academic proficiency to attract parents. Social standing of a school is vital that managers should pay attention to, as it affects parents’ decisions negatively. Parents give importance to economic costs, thus administrators ought to monitor and control their tuition bills to parents. Originality/ Value Most literature has explored the question of school choice from a Western point of view. This study is original as it attempts to investigate the subject of parents’ school choice through the lens of an Eastern culture. It also offers a novel progression to the question of school choice – applying a unique cultural model to the subject of parental school choice. Keywords Parents’ school choice, decision-making process in school selection, private international schools, Eastern Province schools