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Education and Schools

Qatar - Education and Schools

The Ministry of Education and Supreme Education Council generally oversee the education system in Qatar. The education system of Qatar includes a six-year elementary period which is followed followed by a three-year preparatory period and then three-year secondary cycle. Upon completion of the secondary cycle, students have the choice of going to university or into the labour market. Primary, elementary school education in Qatar is compulsory for everyone and it is free of charge at all public schools.

Education history

The first schools established in Qatar were mostly religious. Quranic schools were prevalent in Qatar. These were places where young boys used to learn to recite the Quran, also gaining fundamental Arabic literacy skills. In the early 1950s, the first secular elementary school for boys was opened and since that period, the education sector in Qatar has developed. In 1956, the first government ministry, called the Ministry of Education, was finally established.

Schools for girls in Qatar were opened in the mid-1950s, and during the same period, secondary education was established. Until the 1980s, the education system in Qatar was constantly developing. General academic, vocational, technical, religious training and commercial courses of study were introduced to students.

In the early 1970s, the College of Education started, which later became the University of Qatar. Today, the University of Qatar offers a wide range of programmes in various fields. In the 21st century, the major emphasis is on enhancing the Qatari education system.

Education levels

Education in Qatar is divided into two main groups: basic education that encompasses preschool, primary and secondary education, and higher education. The public school system in Qatar lasts for 12 years, including a 6-year elementary school, followed by a 3-year secondary school and 3 years of higher education. The elementary and preparatory levels are mostly concentrated on basic numeracy and literacy skills. The secondary level of education tends to prepare students for university education, vocational or technical training.

Basic Education

Basic education in Qatar includes the preschool, elementary, preparatory and secondary educational level.

Pre-school Education

In Qatar, preschool education is largely controlled and managed by the private sector. This level of education is offered by nurseries and kindergartens. It includes children aged 3 to 5.

Primary/Elementary Education

Primary education in Qatar is compulsory and free of charge at all public schools. Primary education in Qatar is provided by elementary schools, both public and private. The public schools in Qatar follow the Qatari educational curriculum, while the private schools are mostly concentrated on programmes that take care of the needs of the expat communities who live in the country. Once students complete this level of education, they are eligible to enroll for the middle (preparatory) educational level.

Elementary school lasts for 6 years and it includes students who are 6 to 12 years old. Grades go from 1 to 6.

Preparatory Education

The preparatory schools in Qatar, whether private or state, follow a standard academic curriculum. Preparatory school lasts for 3 years. It has grades from 7 to 9 and students aged between 13 and 15.

Secondary Education

Once the general preparatory education is finished, students can attend general, technical or commercial secondary schools. It is important to know that religious preparatory education in Qatar is for boys only. It lasts for 3 years, includes students aged between 15 and 18 and grades from 10 to 12.

Secondary education has two different systems:

- Academic (general) stream: This system prepares students for university education
- Vocational/technical stream: This system prepares students for employment.

When they finish the secondary education level, students have to pass a final exam. Students who pass the exam are given a general, commercial or technical secondary education certificate, depending on the stream they have chosen.

Higher Education

The main university in the country is Qatar University, which offers over 60 different specializations. Programmes at the undergraduate and postgraduate level are also provided. Undergraduate programmes last for 3 years and provide the title of Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts. Students who complete the undergraduate studies can later study a master’s degree which is usually 1 to 2 years long.

Public Education in Qatar

Public education in Qatar consists of various programmes. Students can choose one of the following options:

Secondary school of commerce - Students who have completed the preparatory stage are eligible for this school. The secondary school of commerce lasts for 3 years and students who complete this course are awarded the "secondary commercial diploma".

Specialized education – This education lasts for 6 years and is offered at preparatory and secondary levels. Specialized education in literary and scientific fields is also offered.

Scientific secondary schools - In this country, there are two scientific secondary schools: one for girls and one for boys. These schools focus mainly on scientific studies.

Literacy and adult education – Since the mid-1950s, the Ministry of Education has offered a literacy and adult education project in order to suppress illiteracy in Qatar.

Special education – This type of education is offered to physically, mentally, socially and emotionally disabled students. There are two special education institutions: Al-Amal school for girls and Al-Amal school for boys. Both these schools offer Islamic guidance as part of their education.

Qatari center for the gifted and creative – The Qatari centre for the gifted and creative was created in 2001 and this centre tends to fulfil the educational needs of the most creative and gifted students.

Languages institute – This institution was established 1973. The Languages Institute offers training to the semi-official organizations and government employees to improve their French, Arabic and English language skills.

Department of training and vocational development: The vocational and training department provides training in technical specialties.

Private Education in Qatar

In Qatar, there are numerous private schools and training centres that offer education in administrative and computer skills. These centres also provide refresher courses that can help students to register in foreign universities or institutions in order to attend distance learning courses.

University Education in Qatar

The first and the largest university in Qatar is the University of Qatar. This institution offers a wide range of study programmes. There are several faculties at the University of Qatar, such as business and economics, education, Islamic studies and Sharia, technology, social studies and humanities, and law.

Admission Requirements

Students must have completed the secondary level of education in order to gain admittance into university. Students must hold a "secondary education completion certificate” for entry to university level studies.

Read more about this country

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