The education system in Qatar is very vast. There are nursery schools all the way up to universities for students to go to.
22 July 2013| Last updated on 18 June 2017
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 charge (usually QR 1,500), tuition fee of QR 500 (for books and other items) and field trips which are paid for separately.
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.
There are limited places in these schools as well so it is best to apply as early on as possible if your child will not be accepted into main stream schools. Many parents also choose to homeschool their children due to lack of space.
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.
Awsaj Institute of Education (tcl.edu.qa) offers classes for greades one to twelve following hte Alternative Education Plan. Contact them on 4454 2111
Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs (shafallah.org.qa) accepts children who suffer disabilities such as cerebral palsy and autism. Contact them on 4495 6666
Homeschooling is becoming a more and more popular option with expatriat parents in Qatar. This is mainly due to the fact that a lot of parents do not manage to secure places for their children in the school system as there is overcrowding especially now that Qatar has a fast growing population.
The requirement for home schooling is that one parent has to register as a home schooler in her home country. The institution that the parent registers with should follow the national curriculum and have government accreditation. The child should spend at least four hours a day completing tasks and assignments and handing them in on time in order to pass the year.
Home schooling is established in qatar and the Doha Home Educators is a community that assists home schooling by organising field trips and get togethers so that the children can learn to socialise effectively.
Doha Home Educators - www.dohahomeeducators.wordpress.com