Qatar’s Emir approves new law to overhaul independent school system

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Qatar’s Emir has signed off on plans to revamp the country’s independent school system, a move that will affect more than 100,000 school children.

Law No. 9 of 2017 will take a more centralized approach to education by forming a public school system for local children.

The legislation was approved by the Cabinet late last year.

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It aims to improve the quality of education for the “young generation in a way that helps enhance creativity and achieve scientific excellence,” Gulf Times reports.

The new school system will be run by Qatar’s education ministry.

It will serve as the authority regarding curriculum, staffing, school calendars, fees and disciplinary action, according to the law.

The ministry will also have a say in setting tuition costs and admission requirements for non-Qatari children, among other issues.

Out with the old

Currently, government-funded independent schools operate with more autonomy.

This has been the case for over a decade, since Qatar adopted a recommendation from the RAND Corp. to mimic a charter school system.

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Under that plan, independent schools have been free to apply more “student-centered teaching methods” and are regularly audited by the government to ensure they are up to standards.

Parents have also been allowed to choose the school that best meets their child’s needs.

But while standardized test scores are improving, Qatar’s students still remain well below the global average when it comes to math, reading and science.

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The dismal figures come at a time when the country is working to diversify its economy away from oil and gas.

Education is now a top priority, and is expected to be listed high up on Qatar’s upcoming five-year plan.

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