Qatari children are proud patriots who value sports, but are not very interested in reading and have a limited knowledge of other cultures, a new survey has found.
The results of the survey, which were conducted by Qatar’s Childhood Cultural Center and released last week, paint an occasionally conflicted portrait of Qatari children.
Findings were culled from several questionnaires completed by more than 850 Qatari children between the ages of 10 and 12, as well as 740 parents and dozens of caregivers.
The aim was to understand how children interacted with their own culture in Qatar, as well as to help develop standards for furthering their knowledge.
Most of the children said they were proud of their national identity and expressed that pride through respect for Qatar’s flag, enthusiasm in performing the national anthem, participation in religious rituals as well as wearing national dress to formal occasions.
Many of these symbols and practices are reinforced through events and holidays such as Qatar’s National Day, Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Ahda, which is expected to fall on Thursday, Sept. 24.
During many of these events, Qatari flags, balloons and stickers flood the streets as many children proudly wear their national garments.
However, the survey said that supervisors of cultural activities noted some shortcomings in children’s awareness regarding national identity, such as a lack of knowledge about the Qatar map as well as some religious and traditional aspects of the country.
And, despite living in a country where an estimated 88 percent of residents are foreigners, “weakness was observed” in children’s learning about other cultures.
One reason for this may be that the survey was restricted to children in independent (state) schools – which most Qatari children attend – and excluded nationals at private schools who would have expat peers.
The survey also faulted Qatari youth for not following local and international news more closely, although it’s not clear how Qatari children compare to their peers in other countries.
A recent media consumption study among youth in Israel, for example, found that eight and 11-year-olds typically read a newspaper, online news, watched TV news and listened to a radio broadcast less than twice a week.
Additional areas of the center’s survey focused on other cultural themes, such as children’s social attitudes.
It found that the country’s youth showed a positive attitude toward helping others, and believed in the importance of working hard and sticking to ethical principles.
It also determined that children knew how to preserve public property, an area in which authorities have put considerable effort. In recent years, there have large-scale anti-littering public awareness campaigns as well as organizing community beach cleanups.
However, it appears that energy conservation efforts are occasionally falling short. The report stated that some children displayed a weakness in their consumer behavior by not rationalizing electricity and acquiring commodities other than basic and useful objects.
While children around the world have been known to prefer toys and pricey gadgets to essential household items, previous studies have shown that Qatari parents and adults tend to overspend on luxuries, setting an example for their children.
Despite relatively high incomes, many of these adults are falling into debt to keep up appearances in front of their peers, according to a 2011 Credit Suisse report.
Sports and arts
When it came to sports, children showed high awareness regarding the importance of athletics in improving public health and some of the rules for various sports.
However, they have minimal awareness about the value of arts such as theater, starring in plays and lack interest in reading books, stories and magazines, according to the report.
Qatar annually hosts many major athletic events as part of a push by authorities to position the country as a global sporting hub and develop a stronger athletic culture ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar is expected to host 89 local, regional and international sporting events between April 2015 and March 2016.
It also has an annual public holiday, National Sports Day, to encourage residents to spend a day playing sports, getting active and being outdoors.
On the other hand, the report states that the children lacked knowledge about a healthy diet and first aid.
Qatar is among the world’s highest rates of obesity, with over 30 percent of the population morbidly obese, health officials said this week, according to local media reports.
Young people are especially at risk for health-related complications such as diabetes due to weight problems.
Many attribute the high rate to Qatar’s harsh climate, which can limit opportunities for exercise and increase residents’ reliance on cars.
Authorities have launched several health initiatives in recent years, including the mall-walking Step into Health and the Yalla Natural Roadshow.
The Childhood Cultural Center concludes that it should be appointed as an official body to oversee children’s culture in Qatar, and work on improving the deficiencies and weaknesses cited in the report.
Additionally, it highlights several other issues such as encouraging Qatari children to use and learn the Arabic language as their mother tongue.
It goes both ways. For most expat schools, the curriculum does not include the history, geography, culture or language of the state.
It does where I’m from.
Actually all private schools in Qatar are required to teach Qatar history and geography. I work at a major international school here and expat children take Qatar History and Geography in English and Qatari children are required to take it in Arabic.
By law, all schools must include local history, geography, Arabic and optional religious instruction. It’s been this way for 2 or 3 years.
“it appears that energy conservation efforts are occasionally falling short.” That was me, sorry everyone. I brushed my teeth in the morning, came back from work in the afternoon… and the tap was still running!
Don’t worry you will pay for it in your monthly utility bill
*cracks open beer”
Deleting for swearing.
Now how can you measure patriotism by a 10 years old raising a flag?!
how can you even measure it with a 10 years old even.?? is this Russia or China!!
Another day, another meaningless survey, stating the obvious.
They should be proud to be Qatari. Their government does a lot for them. No taxes, free medical, free electric and water, paid university fees, free private education for children.
If my country did that for me I’d be proud to.
You will be spoiled too
be proud & spoiled.
“I am spoiled and I am proud of it” would make a nice bumper sticker for the Ferraris and Lamborghinis young Qataris take to London for the summer
London is so last year , keep up
Try Moscow instead next year and you will come to appreciate London even more
been there, had a great time.
What happened to your Lambo?
It disappeared when he woke up from his dream.
Deleting for stereotyping.
Whatever happened to the fat camp we heard so much about at the start of 2014?
still waiting the approval to change the name to OVER WEIGHT CAMP. LOL
“A recent media consumption study among youth in Israel, for example, found that eight and 11-year-olds typically read a newspaper, online news, watched TV news and listened to a radio broadcast less than twice a week.”
Yeah I want my 8 yr old to read and watch the crap news that all the networks broadcast. Watching people getting killed, blown up, raped,… just what an 8 yr old needs.
unless you are raising the next Tyrant .those work just fine over there.
“The Childhood Cultural Center concludes that it should be appointed as an official body to oversee children’s culture in Qatar, and work on improving the deficiencies and weaknesses cited in the report.”
I’m sorry but this survey loses all credibility in my eyes because of the above quoted paragraph. An organization does a survey and then concludes that they should be given official responsiblities (and additional financial support I’m sure)…sounds like they have an agenda. It would be different if the report was a proposal and the survey was included to support the proposal (even then it should be an independent third party survey).
So, pretty much like any other 12 year old on the planet then? Who woulda thunk it?
“Survey: Qatari youth proud patriots, but lack awareness of other cultures”
I am pretty sure you can replace Qatari by any other nationality and the statement would still be true.
yup, at least most Qatari can say i speak English while others cant say i speak Arabic, LOL (lack awareness of other cultures)
Ummm, what leads you to believe that most Qataris can speak English? My experience has been that only the highly educated elite can, and that most can’t competently order in a fast food restaurant.. To make it worse, they often have the language, but very little cultural knowledge and understanding – as can be seen with some of the Qatari commentators on this forum. Multi-lingualism and multi-culturalism is the norm – many Americans, Aussies and Brits are, naturally, glaring exceptions.
HAHA , you just saying stuff, google how multi-multilingualism the west is really , ( again stay with the story) Qatari Can say it, the majority you mention cant say they speak Arabic while working in ARABIC COUNTRY .
West? Why are you talking about the West? Where did that random topic change come from? Yes, sadly many people in Qatar can’t speak Arabic. I’ve often wondered why employers don’t do a better job of training their staff on the language – you would think that it would lead to much better service delivery. I’ve been told more than once that Qatari employers don’t want Arabic speakers – easier to control that way, etc.
Regardless, just over half of Western Europeans are bi or tri-lingual, with about 30% of Canadians having multiple languages. You are correct though, the global dominance of English has made multi-lingualism in the Anglosphere less common than would be nice.
They will, if you decide to run Qatar Petroleum or RasGas or Qatar Airways in Arabic, but you cant, think, my friend, why is that?
your point is ?? we are talking about being aware of other cultures .at least most Qataris speak English which enable them to interact , other cant speck Arabic while living in Arabic country. Qatari
Allows the educated elite to interact – that doesn’t necessarily lead to an understanding of the culture. The average Qatari is, in my experience, no matter than your average American, and significantly worse than your average mainland European. You still haven’t answered why Qatari employers don’t train their staff in the language.
you are talking about companies ( private ) not public . & im not going to decide what companies should do for their staff.
Seems pretty clear though that if a Qatari company hires employees to work in an Arabic speaking environment then they should hire Arabic speakers. If the staff doesn’t speak Arabic, then they should be trained to do so. Since companies don’t do this, then it is clear that they don’t see the need for Arabic.
I’d be so angry at the companies if I were you. Why would Kentucky Fried Chicken hire Filipinos (for example) and not train them in a necessary skill of the job? Why don’t they hire Qataris, or Palestinians, or Sudanese or someone who has the skills to do the job? Seems like they don’t value the Arabic language. Let’s follow this logically, since every one of these companies is owned by a Qatari…why don’t Qataris value Arabic? It is a logical question.
they hire Egyptians / & other Arabs , still a company . (BTW Filipinos/south Asians use Arabic more than another expat) check around.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever had an Egyptian serve me at KFC. Nor a Qatari – why not? Regardless, Qatar companies don’t really care enough to train. These servers you mention learned on the job.
My point is that you have built a country so dependent on foreigners, that many people have happily lived here for years, not even knowing how to say “thank you” in your language. Your kids are being raised by foreign nannies and, as a result, neither their Arabic, nor their English is up to snuff.
HAHA, blaming others instead of your own, if you don’t have the ability for it just say it, Qataris have the advantage here.
LOL, it has nothing to do with me (I know enough Arabic to stay out of trouble), it has more to do with the Qataris in the office that barely speak English and later on I find out that they’ve graduated from UK/US and one wonders who sat the exams for them.
again , 2nd language doesn’t have to be perfect. his company should be pleased he can communicated with others using another language than his 1st.he is still working in Qatar. (again we are talking about culture , not just work which should ends the moment you leave your office )
You highlight the point. When I was in Qatar I didn’t interact with Qatari culture. It is isolated and cut off from the majority of the population. The culture of Qatar that I dealt with outside of the office was heavily Indian and Filipino. This is natural given the population make-up of Qatar.
then you missed out.
Yes, I agree. However, Qatari culture is not easy to access – I guess this is somewhat natural given the demographics and how few Qataris I had the opportunity to meet. We often joked there there were greater chances of winning the lottery than having a Qatari friend.
again then , you missed out, fewer Qataris makes it even better ( rare ,LOL) but you have plenty of Arabs so you missed out .
Missed out on the never-ending, dead boring majlis gossip, who got what job and who is his wasta, who bought what car/boat/condo in London, how much do you save on furniture for your new house if you buy it from Saudi Arabia, ad nauseum… Thanks but no thanks
The furniture news would have been useful, but then I would have had to go to Saudi. Will never do that again, what a hole.
Second language? No, sounds more like academic fraud…
not for you or me to judge, he didn’t say anything about the job , but the language.
He did allude to wasted education abroad though.
His company should be pleased? LOL. Pleased, because it sent him to America for five or six years, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars so that he can be immersed in an English-speaking environment and attend an American university and he came back barely speaking and unable to write a one page report? Your expectations are so low, that I would really like to work for you or your company. How do I apply?
how is your Arabic??? i can say the same about the majority here. LOL
What do you think causes the weak language and cultural skills of the average Qatari? Is it purely the education system or is there something more going on there that outsiders are unaware of? Such ignorance is easy to understand in the case of, say, many Americans, but the cause in Qataris is less clear.
2nd language . doesn’t have to be perfect .
Agreed. But given the time spent in school on second language training, why are there so many who still can’t make a sentence?
still they are trying, better than others who lives years with nothing.
You are in some ways correct, and in other ways out of touch with the demographic reality of many work places. Qataris have created a system where a person can go days and days and never encounter an Arabic speaker. When I lived in Qatar there were no Arabic speakers in my office. In life outside of the office Hindi or Urdu or Filipino was far more useful than Arabic. Why learn Arabic if you never use it and it isn’t useful? I learned far more street Hindi, and it served me better. Is this how it should be? No I would say. Is this what the Qataris designed? Yes. I learned far more Arabic when I moved to Morocco than I ever did in Qatar – this is just a side effect of the demographics that the Qataris created.
at least you gained a new language, but lets face it, if you saw an Arab you would great him with “hi” ,still he has the advantage of knowing yours while you don’t know his,
An Arab? How do I know someone is an Arab? What?
Yes, I would greet a person in English when I first meet them until I learn what other language he or she speaks. This is normal in international consulting as English is the language of choice, and the educated worldwide often speak English. You will often find people who don’t wish to speak Arabic or Chinese – they prefer to do our deals in English, no matter where we are.
If I find out that one of my other languages is shared with that person we may use that. I have found it advantageous not to let others know what languages I speak – you can learn a lot that way when they assume that as white guy I only know one language.
unless you are blind, i think every body is able to see if someone is ARAB/South Asian/ Asian /western . very few are hard to tell. you are in Arab country, ( if international means western then you are right )
International does not mean ‘Western’, it means ‘international’. I now spend most of my time in East Asia, and everything we do is in English, and that is expected by the clients.
Racist much dude? You don’t assess someone based on appearance. You get someone in a dark suit at a deal you have no idea of their nationality or languages until they start to speak, and even then that isn’t a guarantee. The default assumption is that they speak English as one of their languages, and then you negotiate the language of conversation from there.
An old joke.
Language Professor to class: What do you call a person who speaks 3 languages?
Professor: Very Good!! Now what do you call a person who speaks 2 languages?
Professor: Correct again. Excellent! Now, what do you call a person who speaks one language?
Professor: An American!
Rolls with laughter!!!! But so true.
Yep, an oldy for sure.
Most peoples speak far more languages than the average Qatari (who is typically limited to Arabic and English). Feel free to google it.
Sadly the better educated Qataris read and write better in English than they do Arabic, but I don’t expect you to know that.
most people??? ok mr troll .LOL
I wouldn’t say that is true worldwide, you will find the Europeans have a good awareness of other cultures, however for Americans that statement is correct. Patriots to the point of idoicy and no idea what is happening outside of the US. They learn their geography from which countries the US has bombed.
They just lived in a 4 corners of the house! Their knowledge evolve only in that areas.
Closing this thread before someone says something they regret…