*Meeting discusses school fees payment issue as well as challenges facing distance learning
Qatar Chamber (QC)’s Education Committee yesterday held a remote meeting to address the obstacles facing the private education sector in view of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The meeting, headed by Qatar Chamber first vice-chairman and Education Committee chairperson Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari, was attended by Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh al-Nuaimi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), and Omar bin Abdul Aziz al-Nemah, MoEHE assistant undersecretary.
The meeting touched on the reluctance of some parents to pay the remaining outstanding school fees for the current academic year (2019-2020), and the closure of educational centres and kindergartens, as well as the challenges facing distance learning, according to a statement by QC.
The officials also reviewed the evaluation of schools in providing distance learning, which is differentiated from ‘excellent’ for some schools and ‘pass’ for others.
The MoEHE had provided many options for private schools in case they failed to implement the process of distance learning, such as providing parents with worksheets at the end of every week.
The meeting also discussed the payment of school fees and the lack of cash flow, as well as some parents' reluctance to pay these fees, which would have a negative impact on the obligations of schools.
The committee called on the MoEHE to activate and maintain continuous communication and co-ordination between parents and schools.
It suggested that schools provide support for parents by exempting them from bus charges.
“If bus charges were already collected, they will be transferred for next year,” the committee proposed.
Al-Nuaimi confirmed HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education’s follow-up on all measures to overcome difficulties facing the private education sector.
He noted that the MoEHE supports the investments of the private sector, pointing out that the ministry continues to communicate with Unesco and other international organisations to explain the important role of private schools in ensuring the continuation of the educational process in Qatar.
Al-Nuaimi urged private schools to take into account the current circumstances and conditions of families and parents, stressing the ministry’s interest to support private schools in their upcoming development plans.
Al-Nemah said the MoEHE has made available all educational materials for private schools to use in the distance learning process.
He assured that the MoEHE and the chamber’s Education Committee are continuously communicating to support the education process during the health crisis, and to overcome obstacles and challenges facing the private education sector.
The meeting also discussed problems facing a few kindergarten schools, which are incapable of implementing distance learning properly.
The officials assured that the second term exams will not be cancelled but will be available online.
They also reviewed the study prepared by the chamber on the dangers and repercussions of the coronavirus on the private sector, in general, and ways of keeping in line with the study prepared by the MoEHE on distance learning.
The study’s suggestions and recommendations are to be submitted to the authorities concerned in the State.
The meeting also dealt with the committee’s initiative to provide technical support to educational establishments that are not capable of providing distance learning.
The committee stressed the importance of the ministry’s support for private schools through accelerating the disbursement of educational vouchers to such schools in order to facilitate financial flow to support them in the prevailing conditions.
The meeting also emphasised the right of private schools on school fees as long as the school has completed the educational process through modern technologies of remote communication.
They said this ensures the school’s ability to meet its financial obligations.