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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Qatar Schools: Educational Vouchers

Picture of a school building

Both the Gulf Times and the Peninsula today reported on the introduction of educational vouchers for parents. Parents who wish to choose approved private or international schools over local education will be given a voucher. The fee is to be the equivalent to the cost of schooling a student in one of the Supreme Education Councils Independent schools. It was not clear from the article whether this voucher will be extended to residents or is only open to Qataris.

The introduction of vouchers is the latest step in a long process of reforming the Education System in Qatar. Rather than trying to overhaul the beaurocratic Ministry of Education the Government decided to set up a new body, the Supreme Education Council.

Independent schools have been set up under the auspices of the SEC, within which a number of different systems of education are used. The takeover process will shortly be completed, with the Ministry of Education finally shutting its doors in 2010.

There have been some concerns over the new independent schools - some subjects, for example, need to be taught in English, but the quality of teachers' English varies hugely. There have also been worries expressed over how well qualified some of the teachers' are. Reform takes time, though, and the new schools are a definite improvement over the older schools.

Many parents in Qatar - including Qataris - choose private schools, which, despite the current inflationary environment, remain very good value compared to many other countries. Children attending the better of these private schools are also more likely to be able to enter some of the world class universities that are coming to Qatar - and which have very stringent entry requirements.

Also see:

Directory of Private and International Schools in Qatar
Directory of Nurseries in Qatar
Directory of Colleges and Universities in Qatar
Directory of Language Schools in Qatar

Image by Nick Q.

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