Schools hunt for ‘affordable’ new premises
December 16 2014 01:04 AM

By Ramesh Mathew


Some Asian expatriate schools are unable to go ahead with their expansion plans due to the dearth of “affordable” and purpose-built complexes, it is learnt.

In view of the growing demand for more seats, the schools’ authorities are keen to expand their facilities for the coming academic year. However, sources among the schools’ operators point out that despite this demand and an urgent need to enhance their facilities, the shortage of purpose-built and “affordable” buildings in and around Doha has adversely hit their plans.

“While we are getting a large number of enquiries for new admissions at different levels in our school, we have not been able to locate a suitable and larger location where the school can be shifted in the coming year,” said a management committee member of one of the newly-started community schools.

The operator said their school had been looking for larger premises somewhere in the immediate neighbourhood of Doha for more than two months but had not been able to find an “affordable and purpose-built building that would suit their budget”.

The principal of another school, which is located outside Doha city, echoed similar sentiments. The school functions from two separate campuses to house more than 1,100 students and has been receiving a large number of enquiries for the coming academic year.

“We go all around looking for a suitable and larger building practically every day so that we can operate from a single facility without any hassles,” he said, expressing anxiety at the shortage of “affordable” and purpose-built buildings.

Airing similar views, officials of another school felt the local educational authorities need to intervene at the earliest and allot adequate land for school operators who were facing a shortage of space for their operations.

One of them said a complex featuring new expatriate schools from different communities could be an effective solution. “Otherwise, the issue of inadequate space will recur in the coming years as well,” he added.

Almost all schools in the country’s Asian communities that have come up in recent years are functioning from rented premises where no expansion or modification is possible owing to the stringent directives of the Supreme Education Council, say sources.

These schools, the sources add, are keen to increase the student strength but the non-availability of suitable premises is preventing them from doing so. As a result, parents and students may have an even tougher time than in previous years, they further point out.

Meanwhile, it has been pointed out that even if some schools get alternative locations in the coming weeks, it is doubtful if they can commence classes on time as various formalities need to be completed before the start of the next academic year.


Tourism summit

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has kicked off its annual three-day interactive Framework Marketing Summit in Doha to map out a detailed worldwide tourism promotion programme for the fiscal year 2015-16. The summit brings together senior QTA head office executives, representatives of QTA’s five overseas offices and private sector stakeholders from local hotels and other industry suppliers, QTA said in a press release.  “This event is highly important in ensuring that all parties involved in Qatar’s tourism industry are on the same page understanding the QTA’s vision, mission, values and marketing philosophy,” said Rashed AlQurese, QTA chief marketing and promotions officer.


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