The Ministry of Education and Higher Education has announced the opening of new universities and schools, and a focus on quality education in the Ministry’s 2023–30 plan.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) is in the process of approving four international universities from Malaysia, Australia and the US to offer programmes in scientific disciplines.
According to Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Higher Education Affairs at the MoEHE Dr Khalid Al Ali, although Qatar is home to a number of world-class foreign universities in the country, the education sector lacks specialisations in the fields of health sciences and engineering sciences; and therefore, MoEHE is in the process of approving four international universities from Malaysia, Australia and the US to offer programmes in scientific disciplines to meet the needs and requirements of Qatar’s labour market.
There are 34 higher education institutions in Qatar, including 10 public institutions, six military and police institutions, and 18 private institutions – with more than 40,100 students.
Schools in Qatar
According to the Undersecretary of the MoEHE Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh Al Nuaimi, MoEHE has achieved success in equipping schools to accommodate a growing number of students. The number of students in government and private schools has significantly increased over the last decade. The number of students in government schools has increased from 96,000 to 121,000 in the last 10 years. Private schools have also witnessed a huge growth with the number of students going up from 129,000 to 209,000 in the last decade.
According to Dr Al Nuaimi, schools in Qatar have witnessed remarkable growth, while the number of government schools has increased from 178 in the 2012–13 academic year to 209 in the 2022–23 academic year.
The number of private schools in Qatar has increased from 182 to 334 in the last 10 years. The number of teachers in government schools increased from 12,000 to 14,000. The number of teachers in private schools increased from 8,800 to 12,000 teachers.
In the current 2022–23 academic year, MoEHE stated that eight new school buildings have been constructed, including three new schools buildings to shift students from old, already existing school buildings.
Government schools, which are also known as public schools, received 14,500 new students in the current academic year, which according to MoEHE, shows significant growth, as part of the ministry’s vision to increase the number of schools across the country to accommodate more students.
According to MoEHE, 900 new male and female teachers have been employed for government schools in the current academic year. One third of the newly employed teachers – 300 – are Qatari and over 50% are expatriates.
According to Dr Al Nuaimi, the second strategy came to an end in December 2022, which involved evaluating educational institutions and developing the curricula, in addition to upgrading all subjects.
MoEHE recently established Al Hidaya Schools for students with intellectual disabilities and autism, offering integrated services that are provided through a multidisciplinary team. There are currently six Al Hidaya Schools, which are gender segregated government or public schools. Within the regular local school setting, public schools provide services that support students’ needs through educative plans. They also provide arrangements and facilities for evaluation, school environment or classroom activities. Local public schools provide integration services for students with autism and intellectual disabilities. These schools are equipped with resource rooms, programmes, services and specialists that serve students and enhance their academic and independence capabilities.
Scholarship programmes in Qatar
MoEHE offers a scholarship programme for Qataris interested in studying in Qatar and/or abroad. There were 2,503 applicants for scholarships in the 2022–23 academic year and 977 were accepted. The country with the most requests for scholarships was Qatar with 77%, followed by Britain with 18%, the US with 2% and the rest of the countries constituting 3%.
According to Dr Al Ali, 983 universities in 68 countries around the world are accredited universities for external scholarships for bachelor’s degrees, stressing that the criteria for selecting these universities are based on academic quality, and 82% of the universities in the accredited list were in 20 countries. The US and the UK are the two most popular destinations for students with 274 universities in the US and 70 universities in the UK.
In regard to scholarships for postgraduate studies, the list includes 423 universities in 41 countries, with the US leading the list with 104 universities, followed by the UK with 39 universities. At least 3,100 Qatari students are pursuing higher education with scholarships.
According to Dr Al Ali, the most desired and popular courses are medicine and auxiliary medicine (general medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, etc); engineering courses, including civil and mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering and biomedical engineering; and computer courses, including cybersecurity, information systems, computer science and information technology. In addition, according to Dr Al Ali, there is great demand to pursue courses in the College of Education (Tomouh programme) at Qatar University.
There are 35 students on the Amir Scholarship Programme for Academic Excellence, including 21 in the US, five in the UK, five in Qatar (Education City), two in Canada, one in Japan and one in Australia.
According to Dr Al Ali, scholarships are given according to the specialisation that the student desires and are not restricted to the specialisations of the government scholarship plan; and therefore, it is considered a grant from MoEHE. A reward for the student to study a course depends on that the obtained admission is to study at a university approved for the scholarship.
For more information on government scholarships or for assistance to obtain one, visit MoEHE’s scholarship website scholarship.edu.gov.qa, or through the Academic Advising Department at secondary schools.
There are also scholarships for non-Qataris. The Qatar Scholarship Programme provides opportunities for youth who are long-term residents in Qatar to access quality higher education in top Doha-based universities. In 2018, Education Above All (EAA)’s Al Fakhoora programme partnered with the General Directorate of Endowments (AWQAF) and leading universities to establish its Qatar Scholarship Programme (formerly Dynamic Futures Qatar). The Qatar Scholarship Programme currently includes the following partner universities: Qatar University (QU), University of Doha for Science and Technology (UDST), University of Calgary in Qatar, Al Rayan University, and the universities of Qatar Foundation (QF). educationaboveall.org
Qatar also offers scholarships to non-residents. The Qatar Scholarships (QS) initiative is a programme spearheaded by the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) in cooperation with several prestigious and leading educational institutions in Qatar and internationally. The programme offers scholarships for undergraduate, masters, and PhD degrees as well as Arabic language programmes and vocational and technical training to students from developing countries. Driven by Qatar National Vision 2030 to advance quality education, Qatar Scholarship focuses on the Sustainable Development Goal 4: ‘Ensuring fair and inclusive education for all and enhancing lifelong learning for all’. qatarscholarships.qa
Focus on quality education in MoEHE’s strategic plan 2023–30
MoEHE will focus on further improving the quality of education through its 2023–30 strategic plan, as part of Qatar National Vision 2030.
According to Dr Al Nuaimi. the strategic plan will cover students in all three school grades — primary, preparatory and secondary — in addition to kindergarten (KG).
An initiative will be launched to increase the number of students in KGs by creating awareness among parents that it is very important for their children in building a foundation for their education.
According to Dr Al Nuaimi, MoEHE will launch new initiatives such as ‘My Skills My Future’ and ‘My School My Community’ for primary school students for the health and wellbeing of students to improve their quality of life through programmes to promote healthy eating and a more active life. Another initiative ‘Madrasti Manara’ will help improve the performance of some schools by overcoming the challenges they are facing. In addition, according to Dr Al Nuaimi, special programmes will be launched for students with disabilities, enabling them to actively serve the community after their graduation.
According to Dr Al Nuaimi, the strategy also gives top priority in instilling national identity, Islamic and local culture in students and the move will continue in the next strategy following Qatar National Vision 2030.
By Ola Diab
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