In a major move aimed at providing quality education that would lead to the all-round development of Qatar's children, HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued on Wednesday Law No 9 for 2017, calling for the establishment of public schools in the country.
The law stipulates that the government open public schools and provide them with the necessary funds to educate and raise the young generation in a way that helps enhance creativity and achieve scientific excellence.
The law abolishes Law No 11 of 2006 governing local Independent schools and Law No 12 for 1996 regarding the collection of transportation and other fees from non-Qatari students.
According to the new law, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education shall regulate the public schools and appoint their administrative and academic staff. It shall also supervise and develop these schools in a way that ensures quality education.
All citizens of the country have the right to education at public schools, the law says. Such right is protected and sponsored by the State. The conditions and standards for accepting non-Qatari students in these schools shall be defined by a Cabinet decision based on the suggestions of HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education.
Law No 9 for 2017 provides for government schools to be divided into three sections - Primary, Preparatory and Secondary. While the Primary segment will comprise six academic years, the Preparatory and Secondary parts will be of three years each.
Besides, the Cabinet shall issue a decision to regulate education in specialised and technical institutes, based on the suggestions of HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education.
The Ministry of Education may also open kindergartens for children aged four years and above, based on the rules issued by a decision of HE the Minister of Education.
School timings and holidays at public schools will be determined by a Cabinet decision based on the suggestions of HE the Minister of Education.
The Ministry of Education may open specialised schools in different fields to educate and care for students with learning difficulties or those with disabilities. Similarly, the ministry may launch specialised schools for students endowed with special gifts and talents. It shall lay down the terms and conditions for the enrolment of students in such schools.
Law No 9 for 2017 says the Ministry of Education shall design the education system, curriculum and examinations of public schools. The ministry shall also frame the rules for maintaining discipline at such schools. HE the Minister shall issue a decision determining the fees for re-admission of students as well.
Regarding the price of textbooks and transportation fees collected from non-Qatari students other than GCC citizens, and the exemption and instalments of such costs, the Ministry of Education shall issue a decision.
Operators of local Independent schools in the country have been given six months from the date of the new law taking effect to "accommodate all their financial and administrative situations in accordance with the new law". HE the Minister of Education may grant a grace period of another six months in this case.
Based on the suggestions of HE the Minister of Education, the Cabinet shall issue professional guidelines, determining the rights and privileges of the employees of public schools.
Until the new system comes into force, the rights and privileges of the employees of local Independent schools shall be applicable in accordance with their employment contracts at the time of the issuance of this law.
HE the Minister of Education shall issue the necessary decisions to implement the stipulations of this law. Until these are issued, currently applicable rules, regulations, systems shall be applied so far as they do not contradict the stipulations of this law.
The law shall be applicable from the next day of its publication in the official gazette.