Education In Qatar
Qatar has numerous schools and is able to cater for local and most foreign national needs.
The Ministry of Education and the Supreme Education Council jointly control the education system. The Supreme Education Council, however, is currently more influential and is trying to create a world-class education system in Qatar. It does this by giving the schools independence to exercise more control over their own affairs.
International and private schools are popular among expatriates but it is not uncommon to find many locals attending these schools. Most popular curriculums include the International, British, American and French.
Most schools have a waiting list so it’s best to contact the schools well in advance. Schools accept students at any time of the year depending on place availability. Requirements for an application to a school are a passport copy, recent school report, 2 passport photos and an up-to-date immunisation card.
Admittance into certain years may require the child to pass an entrance exam; this usually applies to applicants for Year 6 and above. Schools usually like to meet the family prior to admittance. As they may have a waiting list, it is best to apply as soon as you know you are moving to Qatar. The schools follow national curriculums from various countries (British, French or American, for example). The exams sat by the children are in accordance with the curriculum which the school follows – GCSEs and A-levels (or equivalent exams for the various curriculums). The standard of teaching is high, with many extra-curricular activities and facilities available.
Most schools are open Sunday to Thursday from 07:30 to 13:00 or 15:00. Primary school fees range from QR 2,500 to QR 7,500 per term. Secondary school fees range from QR 6,000 to QR 9,500 per term. Other fees may include the enrolment, registration charge QR 1,500- 3,500, tuition fee of QR 500 (for books and other items) and field trips which are paid for separately, captial or consumables levey 500- 10,000 QR.
Nurseries and Pre-Schools - Many of the various nursery schools in Doha are not registered with the Ministry of Education. Different nurseries accept children from different ages, such as from birth, three months, six months, 12 months or two years. There are usually no waiting lists, so you should have no trouble getting a place at one that is suitable for your child. However, not all nursery teachers are qualified, so take the time to check. If you are looking for a more structured nursery, try Sunbeam, Elder Tree and Central English Speaking School’s kindergarten, and the Australian-managed Starfish Lane Kids.
Most nurseries are open from 07:00 to 13:00, although some are open from 06:00 until 15:30 or later. They tend to offer two, three or five days per week, but this depends on the nursery. There is one Montessori nursery in Doha, part of the Doha Montessori School, accepting children from 2 years of age as long as they are toilet trained. Pre-schools are attached to schools and will take children from 3 years old. Here all the teachers are qualified, but they may have waiting lists, so confirm in advance that they can accept your child. Schools which have pre-schools are Doha English Speaking School, Doha College, and Park House.
Special Needs schooling – Schools in Doha will not always accept children with major learning difficulties because they may not have the facilities to accommodate special needs. However, there are some institutes with good facilities for children with learning problems. The Learning Centre (4492 7888, www.qf.org.qa) offers education for children with specific learning difficulties and disorders. Sunbeam Centre of Excellence (4444 0108) is for children aged 12 and under who have learning difficulties - the curriculum is based on the British Special Educational Needs programme and the centre has qualified staff, teachers, therapists and psychologists. Cedars Tutoring Centre (4468 8192) is a licensed British curriculum tutoring centre helping primary and secondary school children with special needs. Doha Montessori British School (4444 5955) has been known to accept children with special needs. Al Noor Institute for the Blind can be contacted on 4481 5164. The Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs (4466 3232) may be able to assist you if none of the above options are exactly what you are looking for.
Schooling in Doha
The growth of the economy in Qatar and its expanding expatriate population has put tremendous pressure on many of the popular schools which are operating at or slightly above capacity. It is advisable to register for a place as soon as you can before arriving in Qatar, as school classes are limited to 30 children per class by law. Many schools here accept applications a year in advance from when you want to start and also require students to complete an entrance exam plus reports and results from previous schools.
There are 185 private schools within Qatar of which 24 belong to foreign communities and are overseen by the embassies of those countries. A total of 95,503 students are enrolled in private schools here of which only 18% are Qatari nationals.
Most schools here for expatriate children are Private, so fees are usually met by the employer or else the parents. Also the fees for schools increase depending on the level of education provided, so by the end of secondary level they will be alot higher than primary. The school year is split into three terms and fee’s as paid at the start of each term. Obviously depending on your choice of school, fees will vary but you are looking roughly at around 20,000 QAR per annum for Primary and 30,000QAR for Secondary. A registration fee which is non refundable is usually paid when either putting in your application form or when the child is accepted and given a school place.
School days here usually start between 7 – 8am and end between 12 – 2.30pm again depending on your school of choice. Most schools provide a short break for snack time rather than a full lunch hour as they would do back home! School holidays vary from school to school but in addition to Qatari public holidays such as EID, they tend to have two weeks in Winter over Christmas and New Year, a couple of days to a week in February and then one to two weeks in the Spring term around Easter and two months in the Summer. The academic school year here runs from September through to June.
Schools here are not usually situated within walking distance of your accommodation but schools usually provide a bus service which can add up to an hour each way onto your childs school day. Although many parents who work either hire a private driver or set up a car pooling system with other parents who live in the same area.
Parents would be advised to consider the curriculum of their choice just incase they should move to another country or return home.
For more information:
List of Schools in Doha>>