The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) could be the busiest government sector in Qatar at the moment as more than 307,000 students are set to return to school on Wednesday (August 29), after the education ministry has completed its preparation for the new Academic Year 2018-2019.
With the brand-new school year in place, Qatar is once more keen to invest in education which promotes its human and knowledge capital thus the government's unwavering efforts to make sure that everything will go as planned come the day that students will be going back to school premises.
Here are 10 preparations by the education ministry for Academic Year 2018-2019:
The Ministry announced that they have added approximately 6,000 seats for students, by opening new schools in preparation for the new academic year.
Besides this, they have also been working on increasing the number of students enrolled in programs that serve the knowledge economy, increase number of enrolled students with scholarships on bachelor's, master's and doctorate levels to meet the needs of the job market and the national development priorities.
“Qatar allotted plots of lands to build schools with a combined capacity of 6,000 seats and it will provide buildings on rent to operate private schools to meet the growing demands of school seats in the country,” said an MEHE personnel.
As part of MEHE's 2017-2022 strategy, they have vowed to continue holding workshops and projects to improve the quality of education in Qatar. Proof to this initiative are the following:
A back-to-school campaign is ongoing at the Mall of Qatar until the 31st, and it's attracting an unexpectedly high number of crowd. The campaign, launched last August 23, is organized by MEHE in cooperation with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar's Sahtak Awalan, Qatar Unified Awareness Team and sponsored by the Qatar National Bank.
The event receives visitors from 4pm to 10pm from Sunday to Thursday and from 3pm to 10pm on Friday and Saturday at the eastern gate of the Mall of Qatar, opposite Carrefour.
A number of malls, hypermarkets and stationery shops are vying for the attention of students and parents with attractive Back-To-School offers now that Qatar is only 2 days away from the big day.
Ansar Gallery for example, one of the first outlets in the country to start a Back-To-School promotion, is offering a number of attractive stationery packages at affordable prices as part of its promotional scheme that runs from August 9 to 29. The popular retail chain is offering 24 pieces of pencil, 12 pieces of felt-tip pens and 12 crayons for QR15 under its 'hot price' deal. Other offers are backpacks for only QR19 and 3-in-1 backpacks for under QR50.
"Our aim is to offer the best quality school items at reasonable prices. That is why a number of parents have been visiting our outlet ever since we started this promotion," the supervisor of Ansar Gallery outlet in Al Mansoura branch told Gulf Times.
Moreover, other outlets like Lulu, Al Meera, and Jarir Bookstore are likewise packed with last-minute shoppers who want nothing but great deals for their Back-To-School needs.
MEHE's Adviser of Private School Affairs to the Minister of Education and Higher Education Tariq Abdullah Al Abdullah noted that private schools have brought diversity (in the education system) hinting at the issuance of licences for 11 new schools and kindergartens for the new academic year.
According to the Ministry report, the number of private schools and kindergartens reached 282 in the country, with a total enrollment of 190,644 students.
The Ministry has opened several new public and specialized schools in different areas in the country to meet the growing need amid the expansion and development witnessed by the State in all fields, said Fawzia Al Khater, Assistant Under-Secretary for Educational Affairs at MEHE.
She said in the same report that the Ministry also continues to ensure a suitable educational environment for students to engage in various streams of science and education.
MEHE's Head of the School Canteens Management Department Mr. Hamad Al Rumaihi, confirmed the ministry’s intention to supply independent school students with healthy meals for the new academic year. As part of the move towards healthier foods, whole-wheat flour or brown flour is being used instead of white flour in the preparation of sandwiches and baked goods provided to students, as it contains more nutrients, including fiber.
Mr. Al Rumaihi also pointed out that follow-ups and inspection visits are carried out by the ministry and the Canteen Inspection Department. Around 400 inspections have been recorded in the first semester of the current academic year.
All public-school canteens are now completely-free from all types of chocolate, crisps, soda or fizzy drinks, processed meat, fried food, sweets and confectionery. It is strictly prohibited to have any of these types of foods in school canteens as they harm the health of our children, the students. However, because diets should be balanced, canteens can offer snacks such as biscuits and cakes once a week, as long as they adhere to certain nutritional specifications and to not exceed 200 calories per serving.
The ministry also signed a total of 711 teachers, bringing the total in public schools to 13,440, compared to 13,591 in private schools. The teaching workforce has already begun working today (August 27), to prepare for the first day of school and the new semester in general.
MEHE has also prepared programs to monitor and improve the skills of Qatar's ever-growing educators and school staff.
In terms of transportation, the MEHE has assigned a total of 2,117 buses to different schools, each according to its location.
Abdullatif Al Nuaimi, Director of the Department of Joint Services, said that the Ministry has distributed a total 2,117 buses of different sizes to all schools and provided 15 buses for students with special needs. He added that MEHE will also provide small vehicles as per the individual needs adding that the Ministry is fully ready to receive the new academic year.
Qatar's education sector is also focusing on preserving national identity through promoting values of loyalty and belonging and planting them in the youth.
MEHE has repeatedly called on students to take advantage of the opportunities and academic options provided by the wise leadership such as the facilitating academic achievements in all stages and from the best universities around the world.
In the digital age when humanbeings' best friends are smart phones instead of dogs, there's surely no other way for classroom settings—especially in a highly-progressive country like Qatar—but up. And we can't wait how MEHE will transform Doha classrooms into a more technologically-advanced paradise for students of all ages!
To make sure that students' return to school will be as smooth as possible, the education ministry has also worked closely with the Traffic Department to ensure the safety not only of the students but also of the buses, transportation, and schools in general.
“School buildings are ready as per the plan of the Ministry and the necessary maintenance works have been completed,” said a MEHE staff, adding that the requirements of safety and security at the schools were ensured and school canteens are ready.
Preparations for the start of the new school year are not limited to the education ministry only, it has also extended to stationary shops, where parents bought the needs for the new academic year of 2018-2019. Furthermore, the ministry's efforts for the new season reflects the commitment of the country's leadership to education, as it is an important factor in realizing Qatar National Vision 2030 and particularly its human capital component.
To know more about the Ministry of Education and Higher Education Qatar, check out their website and social media links below!
Are your kids ready to go back to school on Wednesday? If your answer's yes, did this article give you an idea on how the new academic year will be like? Drop us a line in the comments section below and also, don't forget to like and share this article—it keeps us going!
(Cover image courtesy of The Peninsula Qatar)
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