As many as 315,000 students began the new academic year Sunday at public and private schools as well as kindergartens across the country, HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohamed bin Abdulwahed al-Hammadi announced.
While 115,000 students were enrolled at 208 government schools and 68 kindergartens, around 200,000 were on the rolls of 310 private schools and kindergartens.
Senior officials at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education toured various schools Sunday morning to ensure all arrangements were in place for the new school year 2019-2020.
The officials stressed that the attendance of students on the first day was considerably good and the schools have completed all measures for a successful new academic year.
Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in the presence of senior officials, HE Dr al-Hammadi highly appreciated the unlimited support of the various government departments to education in the country, in particular HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.
A student receiving new books from officials at a local school on the first day of the new academic year yesterday. PICTURE: Nasar K Moidheen
Five new government schools started operations this year with a capacity for 3,158 students. There are 646 new teachers, taking the total number to 14,218. Two new schools of Al Hedayah group for students with special needs were opened this year at Al Hilal and Al Sukhamah Areas.
Other achievements of this new academic year include the opening of 25 new private schools with 15,000 seats. The number of schools under the educational coupons system for Qataris has touched 99, benefiting more than 20,000 students.
The minister said there are currently 29 higher education institutes in Qatar compared to 16 five years ago. Besides Qatar University, there are private institutes from the UK, France, Spain, the US, Canada and others that offer quality higher education.
There are also efforts to attract an institute of higher education each from Asia, the Arab world and Germany to operate in Qatar. Regarding Qatari students on scholarships in universities inside and outside the country, HE Dr al-Hammadi said their number reached 4,796 at a cost of over QR860mn annually. These scholarships are given according to the requirement of specialists and the labour market.
There is currently one technical school in Qatar and it is to be examined if more are required. He said the educational strategy for 2017-2022 focuses on the quality of education and its products and involves various programmes that also looks at expanding adult education, education for people with special needs and schools for autistic students.
Answering questions about the rumours posted by some people on the social media regarding various issues at the Ministry, Dr al-Hammadi explained: "We respect all opinions, which are voiced politely and with mutual respect, but we will deal strictly according to the law, in co-operation with the entities concerned, with those who try to slander the ministry or any of its employees and officials."
The minister pointed out that there are official channels at the ministry for both the employees and the public to voice their concerns, opinions, suggestions and complaints, which would be taken into consideration in the light of public interest.
He eventually wished all a successful school year stressing the role of parents in making education a success in the county.