Qatar continues to invest heavily in all aspects of public education, regularly assessing progress. Literature, the arts and sport are regarded as important parts of the curriculum, as are religion, culture and tradition, but emphasis is placed on mathematics, the sciences, Arabic and English. Its state schools are known as independent schools.
Ministry of Education and Higher Education
The Supreme Education Council (SEC) was disbanded and its role taken over by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education according to Amiri Order No 1 of 2016. The ministry directs the nation’s education policy. Membership is drawn from Qatar’s top leaders in government, business and academia. The strategy is to develop the public sector while simultaneously promoting the private, to offer families a wider choice.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education receives and handles all enquiries and complaints from students, their parents or guardians. You can visit the ministry in person at Al Dafna. Hotline: 155.
At present the three institutes of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education are:
The Education Institute oversees and supports public schools, developing curriculum standards in key areas and providing professional development opportunities for staff members. It also monitors their financial management.
The Institute’s Private Schools Office is responsible for licensing Arab, international and expatriate private (including community) schools, nurseries and kindergartens operating in Qatar and monitoring their compliance, including fee structure. It is also responsible for the Educational Voucher Programme.
The Institute’s Office of Additional Educational Support provides guidance and assistance in establishing confidential files for students with Additional Educational Support Needs (AESN). It also develops procedures for transferring students with curriculum challenges to competent hospitals and medical centres to diagnose and assess their cases, and regularly follows up with every school support department to monitor their achievements.
The Evaluation Institute develops and conducts the testing of students, monitors student learning and evaluates school performance. It also offers a service for certificate attestation/equivalency.
Comprehensive individual School Report Cards (SRCs) for independent, private Arabic and international schools in Qatar are available online to the general public. They include data on academic achievement, teaching methods, parental involvement, facilities and resources.
To evaluate students in Qatar against those in other countries, the institute participates in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).
The Evaluation Institute consists of five offices:
* The Student Assessment Office
* The School Evaluation Office
* The Data Collection and Management Office (DCM)
* The Qatar Office of Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (QORLA)
* Qatar Senior Schooling Certificate Office
The Higher Education Institute (HEI) supports the development of Higher, Technical and Vocational Education (HTVE) so that individuals can develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, prepare for future leadership roles and meet the nation’s workforce needs. It advises individuals on career options and study opportunities that match their abilities and interests, and meets the needs of the labour market. It supervises scholarships and grants for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Qatar, the Arab world, Australia, the UK, Europe, the US and Canada.
The Hamad bin Khalifa and Tamim bin Hamad Grants Programmes offer suitably qualified Qatari students scholarships to 30 select universities. HEI has an Advising Career Development Centre and a Scholarship Office as well as a Standards Office, which licenses and accredits higher education institutes and programmes in Qatar.
The Institute assists students with online college admission procedures and the Ministry is promoting the mission of Qatar’s cultural attachés in scholarship countries, reopening some which had previously closed.
Autonomous government-funded public schools reflect Qatar’s ‘Education for a New Era’ values through internationally benchmarked curriculum standards in Arabic, English, mathematics and science. Schools must meet the Qatar Comprehensive Educational Assessment
and other evaluation tools to measure student learning and school performance, and must comply with periodic financial audits. School curriculums must follow the standards set forth by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Mandatory subjects include Arabic, English, mathematics, science and Islamic studies, while preserving the values and traditions of Qatari society. Public schools are free for Qatari citizens. Non-Qatari enrolments are subject to individual school policy.
eEducation and eLiteracy
The Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Communication (previously ictQatar), has created a technology-based framework in public schools that enhances, supports and accelerates the reform initiative. The eLearning portal project enables teachers to prepare their lessons electronically, uploading them for students to access any time, anywhere. Teachers and students are provided with personalised email addresses, and ultimately, every public school student and teacher will receive a free tablet PC along with educational aids and applications that conform to the national curriculum standards. The Ministry publishes a ‘white list’ of the hundreds of websites accessible to students through their free tablets. The available websites are listed by curriculum subject content, eg mathematics, English, science, etc.
Additionally, the eLearning portal provides access to online courses covering topics in information technology and business, offering more than 2,500 different courses and allows for flexible learning. Individual enrolment is currently on ‘indefinite hold’, but organisational enrolment is open.
Increasing educational opportunities
Many students who are eligible for public education in Qatari schools have experienced a wider choice and variety of educational opportunities since the introduction of the Ministry’s Educational Voucher programme (certain restrictions apply) which covers tuition fees, books and transportation costs up to a maximum value of QAR28,000 per year. Costs in excess of that remain the responsibility of the parents.
The establishment of public schools in Qatar
The Amir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued Law No 9 of 2017, regulating government schools. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education shall regulate the public schools and appoint their administrative and academic staff. The law abolishes Law No 11 of 2006 governing local Independent schools and Law No 12 of 1996 regarding the collection of transportation and other fees from non-Qatari students.
The process of converting Independent Schools into Public Schools has been completed in accordance with Law No 9 of 2017. Vacancies of staff in the schools have been filled and seven new schools for different educational levels have been opened and fully equipped to admit students. Teachers have been hired internally from the country through individual interviews as well as through teacher training programmes such as Teach for Qatar. The ministry recruited some teachers from the graduates of the College of Education at Qatar University and hired 201 teachers from Oman, Jordan, Tunisia and Sudan.