By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
Philippine School Doha has announced that it has stopped accepting new students for the 2014-2015 academic year, saying its campus can only accommodate about 2,800 students.
Alexander Acosta, principal of PSD, told Gulf Times that the limited space of the present campus prevents them from expanding their enrolment. He also disclosed that more than 300 students (elementary and high school) are already on their waiting list.
He stressed that they follow requirements and regulations set by the Supreme Education Council (SEC). He also said Civil Defence conducts monthly inspection in the school to check its cleanliness, safety and monitor the strength of each classroom.
Many of the Indian schools have closed their admissions for the next academic year following the SEC directive to reduce the number of students in classrooms to a reasonable level.
The PSD principal believes that the new campus in Abu Hamour can house more than 4,000 students once fully operational with bigger classrooms and better facilities.
“For now we cannot exceed 2,800; otherwise it will be too crowded,” said Acosta, adding that such a condition is not good for both teachers and students.
The school also has around 90 full-time teachers but it is mulling to hire additional teaching and non-teaching staff in the Philippines.
Many parents have rejected the idea of sending their kids back home just to finish their high school even if the cost could be less.
Some have even enrolled their children in non-Filipino schools in Doha and then transferred them the following year. One mother, an entrepreneur in Doha and a member of the community, admitted that tuition may not be a big issue for many Filipino parents but the opportunity to bring their kids to the school they prefer.
Asked about updates on the new campus, Acosta noted that the architect has finished close to 65% of the building design suggested by the Al Rayyan Municipality. It recently got the approval of the SEC and the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.
The Board of Trustees has expressed confidence that construction on the 14,375sqm lot could start in May.
Philippine ambassador Crescente Relacion echoed the same view, saying one of the most viable solutions is to build a permanent building for PSD.
He pointed out that school officials could start negotiating for a bank loan once building specifications are approved. Another option for parents, he noted, is to make reservations not only in one school to maximise the chances of their children to be enrolled.
“There are two Philippine schools (PSD and Philippine International School Qatar), which are accredited by the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines,” he said. “The third school, Asian Integrated School, is awaiting accreditation from DepEd and could be another option for Filipino students.”
In a recent report, the SEC asked schools to reduce the number of students in each classroom. It is learnt that the healthy student-teacher ratio was reportedly 1:30.
However, the population of students in each community school is expected to rise with the increasing number of expatriates, especially those who are planning to bring their families to Qatar.
Applications for land development stalled
TThe urban planning department has decided to suspend applications for development of land within road expansion project areas pertaining to E-Ring Road, Central Market Road and Mesaimeer Road until further notice, local Arabic daily Arrayah has reported.
In a circular issued by the department to the director of Doha Municipality, it has confirmed that expansion projects related to E-Ring Road are currently in the design phase and that the works are expected to be completed by the beginning of March, the report adds.
The department has requested Doha Municipality (as represented by the Building Permits Complex) to directly co-ordinate with the department of transport planning and infrastructure as it is the competent authority, according to the report.
The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is working on the design of three projects executed by Parsons Brinckerhoff at a cost of QR320.5mn, the report states.
The first pertains to the design and supervision of works for Central Market Road in southeast Doha, which includes development of the road and its sub-streets. The second project includes the design and supervision of development of Mesaimeer Road and the third comprises the design and supervision of works on E-Ring Road in Doha south. This project includes the development of E-Ring Road, design of streets and development of the existing streets, according to the report.
Talk on afternoon classes draws ire
A proposal mooted by some expatriate schools to explore the possibility of running afternoon shifts has drawn the ire of students as well as parents.
The issue has arisen in the wake of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) asking schools to downsize the strength of classrooms from the existing levels for their smooth functioning.
While the schools see the shift system as the “only” option to meet the conditions laid down by the regulators, parents feel the proposed plans would adversely affect them as most of them are working to support the families. “If the afternoon shift is imposed on students, it may lead to a situation in which many of them would be forced to remain at home when their parents go for work. Many children, especially those at the senior levels, have private coaching in the afternoons and they would not be able to attend such classes,” said a working woman who has
two children studying in an expatriate school.
The parents also foresee the possibility of schools conducting all senior classes in the afternoon shift if the regulators insist on the implementation from the next academic year itself.
The managements feel their overheads would go up considerably as school buses ferrying staff and children need to run extra trips. “Similarly, there will be other hikes in overheads,” said a school manager.
Rental dispute panels to meet at least twice a week
The committees for settling rental disputes should meet at least twice a week upon a call from their chairmen or as required at the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP), a Cabinet decision has stipulated.
The Cabinet issued yesterday its decision number 4 for 2014 amending decision number 37 for 2008 regarding the rules and regulations that should be followed at the rental dispute settlement committees.
The amendments indicate that the chairman of the committee determines the date of reviewing applications and requests and the committee secretariat accordingly notifies the applicant. It is also to notify the other party about the request as soon as a date is set and at least seven days ahead of the review date.
The notification is to be done through registered mail or any other communication means in which the receipt can be confirmed. It can also be announced through a notice at the house which is the subject of the rental dispute.
The committee may use the expertise of engineers of the municipality where the property under dispute is located. It has the right to request related information and documents from the entities linked to the issue.
The committee may drop a petition if the petitioner or his or her authorised representative does not attend any of its session after confirming receipt of the notice. It may also follow up, on its own, the petition and resolve it even in the absence of the applicant or the other party, responding to a request from any of the parties.
The committee may not postpone the review of a petition more than once for the same reason. The Cabinet decision added that the committee has the right to decide on imposing a fine not exceeding QR500 on a person who was assigned a duty and did not implement it.
Call to ease driving licence procedure for local women
There is popular demand among locals to ease procedures for women applying for driving licences as it makes their lives easier, local Arabic daily Arrayah has reported.
Further, a source at the Traffic Department pointed out that women were accountable for as much as only 3% of the road accidents in the country. Also, women abide more by traffic laws and regulations and generally maintain a careful and smooth driving on the roads compared to their male counterparts.
However, the source affirmed that the annul accident statistics usually do not give separately the number of women or men who are involved in accidents.
The report stresses that not only working women are in need of a driving licence, but rather university students and housewives as this gives them more mobility and encourages them to be more positive and productive in the society.
FM receives new envoy’s credentials
HE the Foreign Minister Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah yesterday received a copy of credentials of new Russian Ambassador to Qatar Nour Mohamed Kholouf.
Dr al-Attiyah wished the new Russian ambassador success in his mission and further progress and development to relations between the two countries.
The credentials presentation ceremony was attended by a number of officials of the ministry of foreign affairs.
Law regulating engineering profession issued
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday issued Law No 2 of 2014 amending some provisions of Law No 19 of 2005 regulating the practice of engineering profession.
Emir endorses Cabinet decisions
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani endorsed the following Cabinet decisions yesterday:
1. Decision No 2 of 2014 setting up Qatar Flight Information Region (Q.F.I.R.).
2. Decision No 3 of 2014 amending some provisions of Law No 32 of 2012 setting up a committee on the control of storage and prices of raw materials.
The Emir also ratified Cabinet decisions No. 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the year 2014 to expropriate some real estate for public use.
Cabinet resolution endorsed
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday endorsed Cabinet resolution No 4 of 2014 amending some provisions of Law No 37 of 2008 on the rules and procedures that should be followed before Rental Disputes Settlement Committees.
PM meets US, Croatian envoys
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani met US Ambassador Susan Ziadeh and Croatian Ambassador Tomislav Bosnjak in Doha yesterday.
They discussed bilateral relations and means to enhance them.
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