Amid complaints about the high fees charged by some driving schools here, some school officials claim that they have practically reduced the fees through a decision to unify them.
All the schools have reached an understanding not to charge more than QR2,500 for a 50-hours full course, an official of a driving school was quoted as saying by Al Sharq.
Most schools are charging more for those seeking a licence to drive automatic cars. “There were schools charging up to QR2,800 for an automatic licence, They have now reduced the fees to QR2,500 after the agreement between the schools to unify the prices,” said the official.
He claimed that fees in Qatar are low compared to some other GCC countries. The schools have no plan to further raise the fees in the near future, despite the new rules and requirements recently imposed by the Ministry of Interior.
“The new rules have put an additional burden on the schools. We now have to give theory classes along with the practical lessons and introduce new equipment such as the seat belt simulator,” lamented the official.
Several trainees, however, say that the fees continue to vary from one school to another. Most schools offer a discount on request.
“I joined a driving school last week for a 50-hours course ( manual gears) and the school asked me to pay QR2,500. They gave a QR200 discount on request, although I had to pay the same amount as a tip to my trainer. I learned that this is necessary if you want a good service from the trainer,” an expatriate told
Another expatriate said he arranged admission for his relative in a driving school for a full course paying QR2,140. Initially the school had asked for QR2,300.
Several trainees also say that the newly-introduced theory classes are helpful but language is a major barrier, since many schools do not have qualified people to conduct the classes.
A 50-hours course comprises 15 hours of theory classes and 35 hours of practical classes.
“Although the theory classes are supposed to be for one hour daily, it does not go more than 45 minutes. The classes are conducted through a power-point presentation in English. The man who conducts the classes is very poor in English and his slang is unintelligible to many students. If he cannot find the proper words to explain something, he will just skip it,” said the expatriate.
If this is the case of a professional, not to speak about the high number of expatriates who don’t have a basic knowledge of English language. Along with the theory classes, a pamphlet containing some basic information is distributed to the trainees in five languages- Arabic, English, Urdu, Malayalam and Bangla.
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