Education in Qatar – a half term report
Matthew HeatonPartner,Head of Office - Qatar
Ahmad Al-SarrafIntern,Corporate Commercial
18th December 2022 was a memorable day that marked two contrasting events. It marked the end of one of the most successful World Cup tournaments, yet it was the beginning of a new legacy that took Qatar more than a decade to prepare and plan for.
In 2008, the country embarked on a journey of comprehensive development in different sectors including education, with Qatar determined to become a regional hub for educational excellence in line with country’s objective of attaining sustainable development and growth.
There has been a focus on improving the quality and quantity of education in Qatar to accommodate more students and to become the capital of education in the region.
Qatar has developed world-renowned research institutions to underpin its desire to be a regional and global leader in renewable energy, technology and education. Qatar has been continuously allocating a considerable amount in its expenditure budget for education. In the budget for the fiscal year 2023, the forecasted expenditure on education amounted to QAR 18.1 billion, representing 9% of the total expenditure of the government.
This article looks at the initiatives taken by Qatar and the path for the future of education in the country.
Public schools in Qatar aim to provide high quality learning and teaching to the citizens free of cost. Non-Qatari residents can also have access to public schools at minimal cost. Public schools follow a standard curriculum for all the 3 phases (primary, preparatory, secondary).
Private schools in Qatar offer variety of curricula to include American High School Diploma, British (IGCSE and A level examinations) and IB degree. Additionally, there is now a greater emphasis on expanding the curricula in the private schools in Qatar. In 2021, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education announced its intention of granting 16 additional private schools licenses for different curricula, among which Indian and Filipino curricula will be adopted in some of these private schools. This has led Qatar to become the home of many internationally renowned schools that opened affiliates in the country including International School of London (ISL), Sherborne, SEK, GEMS American Academy and many more. Law 23 of 2015 regulates all the privately run schools in the country.
The total number of students enrolled in schools in Qatar is now over 350,000. Over the past decade, the number of students in public schools went up from 96,000 to 121,000. Similarly, the number of students in private schools marked huge growth from 129,000 to 209,000 during the same period.
The total number of public and private schools combined is 550 as of today. The number of private schools in Qatar increased in the last decade from 182 to 334. Sources have predicted that Qatar’s private school industry has the potential to reach QAR 8.7 billion of fee income by 2023.
Higher education institutions in Qatar offer 366 educational programs with 57% of these programs offered by locally established institutions such as Qatar University, Community College of Qatar, University of Doha for Science and Technology, and Hamad Bin Khalifa University, which includes 6 colleges offering various programs such as Law, Social Sciences, Health & Life Sciences, Engineering, Public Policy and Islamic Studies that offer wide range of post-graduate programs. In addition, Qatar is home to international higher education institutions supported by Qatar Foundation, which includes Carnegie Mellon University, Weill Cornell, Texas A&M, Georgetown and HEC Paris in Qatar. These institutions are housed at Qatar Education City. The objective is to become a destination for research and education, with the aim to becoming a regional centre of educational excellence. The government is committed to investing in higher education to attract the best staff and students. According to the most recent QS World Rankings, Qatar University is ranked 173 globally, as well as ranking in the top 10 in the Arab region. Moreover, there is more than 33 research and scientific centres in Qatar that focus on different fields including environment, energy, medicine, computing, innovative technology, social studies, and sustainable development.
On top of the laws that were enacted to regulate the functioning of the private schools, a public private partnership (PPP) program was established to encourage private investment in the public schools and higher education facilities. 45 public schools are planned to be built over four years starting from 2022, which will be transferred to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to manage the provision of teaching.
Additionally, Qatar University announced its expansion plans to build more facilities and infrastructures to expand its program offerings and enhance its academic and research excellence, The new facilities will be dedicated to College of Medicine and Health Sciences, College of Islamic Studies, College of Science Labs and sport centers. This expansion plan is estimated to cost around QAR 3.2 billion and the private sector is set to be involved in all the phases of this plan, which includes designing, constructing, financing and maintaining the facilities.
All of the above PPP is part of Qatar’s Second National Development Strategy (2018-2022) in promoting greater private sector participation in the economy to achieve its strategic objectives of social and human developments in the State of Qatar.
The future of education sector in Qatar looks bright and promising. 45 public schools are planned to be built over four years starting from 2022 under PPP, highlighting the government’s focus on increased provision of education. In addition, the expansion of universities in Qatar reflects the desire that Qatar become a regional centre of educational excellence, attracting students from abroad. Combined, these will contribute to Qatar’s National Vision 2030, as well as providing myriad opportunities for education providers and investors in Qatar.
For further information,please contact Matthew Heaton.
Published in September 2023
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