The Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, and Education Above All (EAA) Foundation are providing education for children of underprivileged expatriate families in Qatar.

According to many international human rights organisations, education is not a privilege. It is a human right. The right to education is recognised as a right to free, compulsory primary and secondary education for all.

As part of a partnership between Education Above All (EAA) Foundation and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to provide education for children of underprivileged expatriate families in Qatar, the second Ihsan School opened in Ras Bu Aboud in January 2020.

Fully supported by Qatar Charity (QC) and Afif Charity, the second Ihsan School is a non-profit school for Arab expatriates in Qatar, who are unable to afford to place their children in local schools. 

According to HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohammed bin Abdul Wahed Al Hammadi, the opening of the school reflects Qatar’s keenness to fulfil their social responsibilities to provide free education opportunities to all of Qatar’s residents, locals and expatriates alike. During the period 2014 to 2018, Qatar’s total spending on education and culture reached approximately QAR766 mn, which benefited nearly two and a half million people in 50 countries around the world.

According to HE Dr Mohammed, EAA plays a significant role in accomplishing its mission to protect the right of children and youth all over the world to quality education, especially for those residing in Qatar, so that no child is left outside the education system. 

EAA’s mission is to make education accessible to every child in the world. Founded in 2012 by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, EAA is a foundation that aims to contribute to human, social and economic development through the provision of quality education. With a particular focus on those affected by poverty, conflict and disaster, it champions the needs of children, youth and women to empower them to become active members of their communities.

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education has provided the building and many services such as maintenance, security and academic supervision for this school, while the school’s board of trustees is concerned with appointing the teaching staff, school administration and other operational matters. The school building has been renovated and rehabilitated in the old traditional style.

QC considers education as a priority area, extending its support in various ways, including building educational facilities and training centres and providing sponsors for students and teachers.

The school adopts the Qatari curriculum of local public schools and is completely free of charge including school books, uniforms and other necessities. 

The school currently runs on two separate sessions with a total of 482 students, including 353 students in the first session, while the second session, which begins at 2 pm, has 129 students from the fifth grade to high school. The area of the second Ihsan School is about 6,000 sq m and can accommodate 12 classes and employ about 48 teachers and administrators, 23 teachers and 10 administrators in the first session, and 14 teachers and one administrator in the second session.

The first Ihsan school

The first Ihsan school opened in June 2019 in Umm Ghuwailina. The school for non-Arabic speakers operates on the special curriculum, Cambridge English. Some teachings will be in Arabic such as Shariah and the history of Qatar.

The school includes 36 classrooms, accommodating 400 students, operating on two sessions, morning and evening, to accommodate 800 students.

The cost of the school exceeded QAR4 mn, excluding maintenance, with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education covering most of the expenses. The school includes 354 students who were unable to afford to complete their education.

Both the first and second Ihsan schools operate in coordination and cooperation between the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs and EAA to provide students with opportunities in education.

Inclusive education

Al Shafallah Centre for Persons with Disability announced the launch of the evening programme for children on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on January 2020, for children on waiting lists aged 6-10. The programme will operate on the evenings, three days a week. The programme was launched as a temporary solution until additional branches of the Al Shafallah Centre open. 

Al Shafallah Centre for Persons with Disability was established in 1999 by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser to provide exemplary educational and rehabilitative services to people with mental disabilities under 21 years old, with focus people on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The centre aims to promote societal awareness of the cause and rights of people with mental disability, and to help them acquire a more independent life and maximise their integration in society. Since 2013, the centre operates under the umbrella of Qatar Foundation for Social Work. 4495 6667,

The Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs (QSRN) has recently approved a specialised musical rehabilitation course within its programmes to develop the capabilities and skills of its members with mental disabilities.

Offered at four centres of QSRN, the programme of rehabilitation and treatment using music is aimed at people with mental disabilities in order to restore and improve their emotional, psychological and spiritual condition, through the use of musical hearing, which is background therapy, musical meditation, and relaxation when listening to calm music through live play. 4466 3232,

Author: Ola Diab

This article is from Marhaba Information Guide’s Issue No 77 Spring/Summer 2020.

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