Under the patronage and in the presence of Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al-Thani, Founding Chairperson of Teach For Qatar (TFQ), TFQ hosted its inaugural stakeholder engagement lunch on the last day of the World Innovation Summit for Education 2014 (WISE), at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha.
The lunch marked the beginning of a long-term dialogue between TFQ and its various stakeholders, aimed at exploring ways in which to galvanize community support for the organization and its mission, to effect positive change in Qatar’s independent school system.
In keeping with the ‘Imagine-Create-Learn: Creativity at the Heart of Education’ theme of WISE this year, the event gathered TFQ’s industry and academic partners, independent school principals, and Fellows, to share success stories and discuss the challenges TFQ has encountered on its journey so far.
“This year, TFQ took its first steps in tackling Qatar’s educational challenges, by placing its first cohort of hand-picked Fellows, comprised of graduates and young professionals, into independent schools in Qatar,” said H.E. Sheikha Hind bint Hamad. “With the continued support of our various stakeholders, TFQ continues to work towards empowering Qatar’s students through its Fellowship. Indeed it is creative discussions such as this, which will enable us to continue to draw from Qatar’s young talent pool to inspire the upcoming generation of leaders from inside the classroom to innovatively tackle the challenges Qatar’s students face.”
H.E. Sheikha Hind bint Hamad was joined by H.E. Mohammed Al-Hammadi, Qatar’s Minister of Education and Higher Education, and Secretary General of the Supreme Education Council; Engineer Saad Al Muhannadi, President of Qatar Foundation; Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, Chairman of WISE and Hamad Bin Khalifa University; Bart Cahir, President and General Manager of ExxonMobil; Abdulaziz Al Mannai, Director of Administration at Qatar Petroleum; Stavros Yiannouka, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WISE; and Fawzi Ali Al Ajji, Senior Corporate Social Responsibility Adviser at Maersk Oil Qatar.
“At the start of the current academic year, TFQ Fellows began teaching more than 800 students at independent schools across Qatar,” said Mohammed Fakhro, CEO of TFQ. “However, we still need to work on gaining wider support from major institutions in Qatar, who are willing to see their employees undertake secondment with us, as part of their CSR initiatives, as we work towards making teaching a top career choice in Qatar.”
In addition to exploring the TFQ journey, discussions also included ways in which to garner increased support for TFQ’s Fellowship from independent schools and local organizations, by appealing to the wider community to help solve Qatar’s educational challenges.
“The importance of an initiative like TFQ lies in the fact that it is addressing one of the most important challenges facing education in Qatar, which is changing the perceptions of the community towards teaching as a career choice,” said Nasser Al Jaber, Community Investment Manager at ExxonMobil Qatar.
Meanwhile, representatives from the energy industry and academia heard from TFQ’s first cohort of Fellows about how the first few months into their two-year teaching placements have impacted not only their students, but them as individuals.
“We are always in search of exceptional teachers for our schools and I have been receiving positive feedback about TFQ Fellows,” said Fawzia Al Khater, Head of Education Institute at the Supreme Education Council. “We are therefore delighted to offer our support to this promising initiative, and we look forward to the knowledge sharing of classroom best practices between TFQ’s Fellows and the teachers in our independent schools, for the overall benefit of Qatar’s wider teaching community.”
School principals from TFQ’s partner independent schools also shared their thoughts on how the TFQ Fellows, placed in their respective schools, have brought about positive change to the classrooms in which they teach.
Maryam Al Awadi, Principal of the Zainab Independent School for Girls, who has two TFQ Fellows teaching English and Mathematics at her school, said: “At first we were apprehensive about accepting TFQ Fellows into our school, but have since been pleasantly surprised with the quality of their training and overall skills. They have in fact contributed a fresh perspective to our school, which is something we not only appreciate but believe we can learn from, and we look forward to welcoming more TFQ Fellows next year.”
Teach For Qatar, introduces exceptionally talented young leaders into the independent school system in Qatar by providing graduates and young professionals, both nationals or residents who wish to give back to Qatar, with the opportunity to inspire students through a two-year teaching placement in one of its partner independent schools in Doha. Applications for the Teach For Qatar 2015-2017 Fellowship are now open. For more information, or to apply, please visit www.teachforqatar.org.
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