With the approaching registration in private schools and preschools, which will kick off next Monday until mid-October, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, represented in the Private Education Affairs Sector, advised parents to identify which educational system they would like to choose for their children. Each of the different educational systems specifies a set of requirements related to student admission into academic stages, using different names for certain age groups.
The Ministry stated that guidance on the International Education Systems Equivalency Table has been outlined in the "Guidelines for the admission of students into private schools in the State of Qatar." The student’s age is the main factor used for determining the academic level in which the student should be placed. Parents and schools have a mutual responsibility to refer to that table for determining the proper academic level. Each school, however, will act according to its own academic policy.
Mr. Hamad Al-Ghali, Director of Private Schools Licensing Department (PSLD) said that according to the circular communicated to private schools and preschools, early registration will be open on Monday, 1 March, and run through Thursday, 14 October 2021. Registration of overseas students, however, will remain open until the end of January 2022. Each school shall determine and announce its own mechanism for registration in accordance with the Ministry's laws and regulations in this regard. He added that the age of admission in all academic stages is determined as per the tables attached to the circular, noting that these tables determine the maximum and minimum age for admission.
Al-Ghali added that Qatar has over 325 private schools and preschools offering 30 different curricula, which provide a wide variety of options for parents. He also called on the parents to avail the online services that the Ministry provides for the private education sector on its Public Services Portal.
Al-Ghali pointed out that parents can access the portal to obtain up-to-date guidance and information related to the private schools and preschools in Qatar. The Ministry is constantly developing and updating the site with useful data and information about private schools and preschools. Official websites of schools are provided along with other main pages that explains the educational policy for each. Accordingly, parents would have the opportunity to know important information about their targeted schools, including the educational and organizational plan, tuition fees, curriculum, licensed stages, international accreditations, school calendar, exams, contact numbers and various activities according to each school type (national/international/community, etc.).
Al-Ghali mentioned that the PSLD has given priority to establishing a database for all private schools and preschools and made it available on the Ministry's website. He explained that the database contains the school and preschool names, curricula, annual tuition fees, as well as basic information about the school vacancies, capacity, accreditation and education vouchers. Moreover, parents also have an option to draw comparison between schools. He added that the Ministry's website allows parents to access a list of private schools and preschools of different classifications. They can also conduct any search by school name, curricula, geographic area, location, academic level, annual tuition fees and contact information.
In relation to the education vouchers, the PSLD director said that the list of private institutions that accept education vouchers during the 2021-2022 includes 107 schools and preschools. He added that vouchers are offered to all Qatari students registered in the nationally-accredited private schools. The education vouchers are amount of money granted by the state to cover part or all of the tuition fees.
For processing the vouchers, the PSLD addresses the schools joining the education voucher system to prepare invoices by the beginning of each semester. Schools will communicate with parents and ask them to upload the required documents to the system. These documents include: Student birth certificate and a Statement to Whom It May Concern confirming that none of the parents receives education allowance from their employer. After that, all vouchers are reviewed by PSLD and approved by the department director. Parents are not required to attend the Ministry to have these procedures done. They can finalize it directly with their respective school.
With regard to new school license applications for the next year, Mr. Al-Ghali said that the PSLD received some 38 applications to open new private educational facility for the 2021-2022 academic year. Of those, 21 applications were submitted for facilities teaching British curriculum, 11 for American curriculum, 3 for Indian curriculum, 2 for the national curriculum and 1 for Tunisian curriculum.
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