With reporting from Riham Sheble
Tackling the ongoing school place shortage in Qatar, the Supreme Education Council has announced that 13 new schools and six kindergartens are expected to open next month to students across the country.
Some 28 private schools had previously applied for licenses to begin operations this fall, but only about half apparently met the requirements in time for a September start.
No list of the new schools was provided, but last month, Qatar’s first Finnish school said it would be among those meeting increasing demand for primary school places among residents.
And yesterday, the Rajagiri Public School said it was also opening its first campus this September in Abu Hamour.
The move comes as Indian expats here have been struggling to enroll their children in school following a crackdown on classrooms with more than 30 students.
Residents from all walks of life have been complaining for the past few years about how hard it is to enroll their children in schools here. Some institutions have said they get thousands of applications for only a dozen available places.
The rising demand for private school spots is partly due to the increasing expat population, but also comes as the average Qatari family decides to spend more on children’s education, and utilizes the expanding voucher program to place their kids in private school.
According to the SEC, some 71 schools are now covered by the voucher program:
للإطلاع على المدارس المعتمدة ضمن القسائم التعليمية للعام الأكاديمي 2014/2015 يمكنكم زيارة الرابط التالي http://t.co/75Nqh9rQW6
— وزارة التربية والتعليم والتعليم العالي (@Qatar_Edu) August 6, 2014
Later in the year
In a statement this week, the SEC also said that 22 other schools would be open by the end of the coming school year, between October 2014 and May 2015. Additionally, it pledged to open nine more kindergartens by December.
Parents have been especially hard-pressed to find vacancies in kindergartens after a new law that passed this year decreed that children over the age of four years old could no longer attend nursery schools.
The construction and opening of the dozens of planned schools were first mentioned at the end of March, as one of the few details available about Qatar’s latest budget, which took effect on April 1.
The financial plan includes a promise to construct some 85 schools over the next year and a half.
The move was lauded as it will help ease some of the strain on Qatar’s overburdened education system, and mitigate some of the stress on companies struggling to recruit expats deterred by a lack of school places.
Are you finding it easier to get a school place for your child? Thoughts?