HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani and HE the Education and Higher Education Minister Dr Mohamed Abdulwahid al-Hammadi at the meeting yesterday.

By Ayman Adly

Staff Reporter


Opening of new schools and expanding the capacity of existing ones are the only solution to tide over the problem of lack of private school places in Qatar, HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohamed Abdulwahid al-Hammadi, who is also the Supreme Education Council’s   secretary-general, said yesterday.

The minister said the Supreme Education Council (SEC) encouraged “distinguished” community and private schools to open  branches in the country by providing them with all possible support.

Talking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of an open forum convened by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, who is also the SEC chairman,  the Education  Minister said it was not the SEC that limited the number of students in each class but it was a requirement of the General Directorate of the Civil Defence to ensure the safety of the children.

After the authorities began to strictly enforce the rules, several schools were forced to admit fewer pupils this year to bring down the strength of their classrooms to the desired 30. According to sources, the MES Indian School, the largest private school in the country, has not admitted even a single student this year to KG classes following the government regulation.

“Schools have to strictly abide by the safety and security regulations and standards stipulated by the General Directorate of the Civil Defence,” the minister said.

“They should not also jam students into classrooms and undermine their safety and security. The option for them  is to expand by opening new campuses ,” he said.   

The minister admitted that there was a huge and increasing demand on school education in Qatar and “SEC gives all the due support for those willing to open new schools and the schools with distinguished records in particular are highly encouraged to expand their operations in the country”.

However, he pointed out that there were logistic and administrative challenges for opening new community and private schools in the country, like the difficulty in finding suitable land for buildings and on following the set standards and conditions.

Regarding the difficulty some parents have been facing  in getting their wards admitted to private or community schools,  al-Hammadi felt the situation was a result of certain schools enjoying greater demand  due to the parents’ preference for them for a number of reasons. “That might lead to shortage or non-availability of seats.” He advised parents to explore the possibility of getting their children admitted to other schools as “there are currently a variety of  schools in Qatar with varied fees and services and options”.

SEC vice-president and Executive Committee chairperson Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, HE the  Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, Minister of Development Planning and Statistics HE Dr Saleh Mohamed Salem al-Nabit, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs HE Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi, prominent Qatari entrepreneur Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani and Hamad Bin Khalifa University president Sheikh Dr Abdulla bin Ali al-Thani were among the dignitaries present at the forum held under the theme “Education: Reality, challenges and aspirations”.  


Related Story