Qatar to tighten nursery regulations, conduct review to enforce compliance

Qatar is in the process of drafting a new law to govern how nursery schools are run here, a senior official at the Ministry of Social Affairs has said.

The law, which is expected to be passed “very soon,” will impose stricter health, hygiene, safety and academic requirements on nurseries, deputy director of the ministry’s Family Development Affairs Noora al-Hajiri said.

It comes on the heels of a fire at Villaggio mall that killed 19 people, 13 of them children trapped in a play center. A committee looking into the cause of that incident, meanwhile, has officially submitted their report to the Heir Apparent’s office.

Earlier this week, the ministry sent a memo to nursery owners announcing that it would be auditing their creches to ensure they complied with government requirements:

The memo reads:

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Family Development Department endeavors to take steps to renew nursery licenses. We urge you (to understand) the necessity of the administration’s review two months prior to the expiration of the licensing period.

Upper floors in nurseries are to be converted for administration purposes only, within three months from June 1st, 2012.

In the event that the requirements are not met as announced, the necessary legal measures will be taken with regard to the non-compliant nurseries.

The ministry has also urged parents not to leave their children with unlicensed babysitting or daycare services.

Gulf Times reports:

Answering a question on creches, most of which are managed in private homes, she said that parents were advised not to leave their children in the care of any unlicensed institution. “It is not within our jurisdiction to oversee creches in private homes. The parents should understand the risks involved in dealing with an unlicensed institution.”

Many childcare facilities say they are already planning to improve safety measures following last week’s tragedy, including adding emergency exits to second-floor playrooms.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo courtesy of Gympanzee’s Facebook page

*Note: The Arabic-to-English translation previously incorrectly mistranslated the second paragraph. It now reads correctly.

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