The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and Dar Al Uloom Real Estate Development Company to construct eight public schools within Qatar Schools Development Program and under the public private partnership (PPP) system.

The Minister of Commerce and Industry, HE Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, underlined that the agreement signed between the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and Dar Al Uloom Real Estate Development Company, a subsidiary of Barwa Real Estate Group, to construct eight public schools within Qatar Schools Development Program and under the public private partnership (PPP) system, embodies the principles stipulated by Law No 12 of 2020 on regulating the partnership between the government and the private sector, which was issued by HH The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

HE Al Kuwari indicated that this agreement represents an inspiring model for the partnership between the public and private sectors, especially as it mainly aims at supporting the nations education system, adding that the partnership contributes to expanding Qatar’s investment horizons.

According to HE Al Kuwari, PPP projects play a vital role in rationalising public budget expenditures, achieving the optimal investment of resources, and enhancing the competitiveness of Qatari private companies, as well as directing government agencies to adopt a new vision for managing national projects, meeting economic and social development requirements, and attracting domestic and foreign investments.

According to the President of Ashghal, Dr Engineer Saad bin Ahmed Al Muhannadi, the contract is the first of its kind, and comes within the framework of the recent law issued by HH the Amir regulating the partnership between public sector and private sector, where 47 new schools are expected to be established in the private sector during the next five years, including these eight schools as a first package.

According to Dr Al Muhannadi, the project has been assigned to a national company in accordance with the government’s directives to give priority to Qatari businesses, noting that Ashghal does not hesitate to facilitate procedures for the private sector, especially for local firms who are implementing Ashghal projects.

Under the agreement, which has been concluded within the framework of the Qatar Schools Development Program and under the PPP system, Dar Al Uloom Real Estate Development Company will establish eight new public schools for the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. In this context, a middle school and a secondary school for boys will be built in Al Kheesa and Rawdat Al Hamama in addition to a middle school for girls in Bu Fesseela, three secondary schools for girls in Umm Salal Mohammed, Rawdat Al Naisar and Al Wakra, and an elementary school for girls and a model school for boys in Al Wukair. 

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The Qatar Schools PPP Development Programme has already been implemented in the beginning of 2021 with some schools to be completed by 2022; however, the eight school buildings will be constructed over three years. They will accommodate more than 6,000 students and employ 720 people.

Each school will consist of 30 classrooms to accommodate 786 students. According to the approved design model, the schools will include various educational facilities such as science labs, language labs, information technology, sports and arts halls, multipurpose halls, gyms, libraries and classrooms, in addition to external facilities including shaded parking, sports fields, and service buildings.

The implementing company will also take into account the sustainability criteria represented by the GSAS 3-star system, which focuses on promoting the application of green building requirements in the design and construction of facilities.

With regard to safety requirements, compliance will be taken into account in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), as well as civil defence requirements. The new school buildings will also consider the requirements of Qatar Building Code for people with special needs, in terms of providing appropriate entrances as well as special toilet designs and other requirements.

The new buildings will also witness adjustments in external and interior designs, including changing the colours of floors and interior walls to suit students’ ages, which improves the study and psychological environment and reflects positively on educational outcomes. 

Package 3

Fourteen schools will be constructed in the third package of Qatar Schools Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Development Programme.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), has announced a request for submitting Expressions of Interest (EOI) in PPP development of Qatari schools (package 3), which consists of four secondary schools, five preparatory schools, four primary schools, and a school for students with special needs. 

This step is aimed at meeting the increasing demand in the education sector, coinciding with the population growth and the increasing number of students enrolled in schools, while achieving continuous improvement in the quality of education.

The project’s scope of work includes the design and construction of 14 schools, demolition works in evacuated schools, project financing, operation, and maintenance for a 25-year concession period, and asset transfer to Ashghal by that period’s end.

More schools

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education issues licences for private schools and pre-schools according to the provisions of Law No 23 of 2015.

The Private Schools Licensing Department at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education has received 38 applications for licences to operate new private schools and kindergartens for the academic year 2021-22, from 1 November 2020 until 31 December 2020.

The 38 applications include 21 requests seeking licences for operating private kindergartens and schools of British curriculum, 11 applications for American curriculum schools, three requests for Indian curriculum schools, two applications for schools under the Qatar national standard, and one request for a Turkish curriculum school.

According to the Director of Private Schools Licensing Department, at present, a total of 337 private kindergartens and schools are operating in the country with private schools and kindergartens enrolling 200,782 students, including 40,650 Qatari students. There are international schools such as American, British and French; community schools serving different nationalities; and Qatari public schools.

The Ministry also has detailed by-laws outlining the setup requirements for potential private school operators. Investors can apply for private school licences in November and December of each year through the school registration portal. The Ministry requires all private schools to teach in their curricula Arabic language, Islamic studies and Qatari history.

Once licenced, the Ministry monitors private schools to ensure they are complying with the academic terms of their licence and that their educational plans are met.

Author: Sarah Palmer

This feature is from Marhaba’s issue – M80 Spring/Summer 2021.

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