Several members of the Advisory Council attending its ordinary meeting on Monday expressed the view that the introduction of Independent schools had weakened the study of Arabic language and Islamic subjects in the country.
They also felt that the importance given to a foreign language in these schools posed a threat to the cultural identity of the country.
The Council decided to refer the issue to its cultural affairs committee for further examination.
“Education reform is a necessity but it should conform to the values and ethics of the society and should not become a commercial commodity,” said Mohammed Al Sulaiti, a Council member, while addressing the meeting.
He noted that the education system in Qatar now comprised five categories of schools -- Independent schools, international schools, community schools, private schools and public schools.
“Such a system cannot be found in any other country. The change to a foreign language from kindergarten to the university level will lead to a loss of identity and culture,” said Al Sulaiti.
He added that many families had been complaining about a lack of stability in the educational system in the country.
Khalid Al Labdah, another member, who supported Al Sulaiti, however, said it was a bit late to raise this issue.
He asked what was the need to transform all government schools into Independent schools, and claimed that the previous school system in the country was performing well.
“All the educational outputs we see now are from the public schools. Then why do we rush for the Independent schools,” he asked.
The members also called on the authorities to address the issue of secondary school graduates who are denied higher education after they fail to meet the admission criteria of Qatar University.
The members also pointed out that several nationals send their children to study in higher education institutions abroad, but many of the institutions were not recognised in Qatar. This, they felt, was contrary to the country’s vision of becoming a knowledge-based society.
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