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Monday, March 1, 2021

First batch of trainees graduates from new nanny academy in Qatar

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Two years after the launch of a new Qatar Nanny Training Academy, its first class of students have graduated today.

The 14 women have completed courses in first aid, hygiene and nutrition, as well as classes that focused on promoting Arabic in the home and upholding Qatari and Islamic culture and values.

The graduates, who hail from Mauritania and the Comoros, were selected from more than 200 applicants to take part in the program, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East.

Backed by former first lady Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the academy was announced in December 2012 and enrolled its first batch of students last September.

It is located off of the Doha Expressway, near Landmark Mall, and is backed by Qatar Foundation.

At the academy’s launch in 2012, founding committee member Amal Abdullatif Al-Mannai said that the aim is to “protect children from other cultures that diffuse into the society through Asian nannies in particular.”

Culture clash

In many Gulf countries, children are often looked after by hired help. But the role of “nanny” is usually undertaken by women from non Arabic-speaking countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia, who officially live and work in Qatar as “housemaids.”

Because caring for children and taking care of a home entail very different job descriptions, tensions often exist in households where domestic help is expected to fill both roles.

There are often also many social, cultural and religious differences between domestic workers and their sponsors.

Addressing these problems, promotional material from the academy states:

“This gives rise to a generation of young Arabs who are unacquainted with our proud Arab, Islamic heritage. Where do we go from here?”

The new graduates are all Arabic-speaking and as part of their 10-month training, took classes in the Arabic language, Islamic studies and Qatari culture and values. This is in addition to lessons in first aid, hygiene, nutrition and children’s education.

In a presentation during today’s graduation ceremony, Dr. Yousif al-Mulla, academy chairman, said, “Caring for Qatari children is at the top of Qatar state’s priorities. They represent the future of our nation.”

Better pay

Many of the first batch of nannies have bachelor’s degrees and some have Master’s.

All 14 have secured jobs with local families, and a new category of visa – the professional nanny – has been established to differentiate these women from other household staff, al-Mulla told Doha News.

Though the trainees specifically learned a great deal about Qatari culture, they can also work for expat families, he added.

Families are strictly vetted to ensure they are appropriate employers and must agree to a search of their immigration record to ensure they have had no complaints levied against them by previous employees.

Their homes are also inspected to make sure they can provide suitable accommodation for their nannies.

The sponsors must also agree to pay a minimum monthly salary of QR3,000, rising to QR4,800 for more qualified nannies, and sign two Qatar Foundation contracts – with the academy and also with their new employee.

The contract specifies holiday entitlement, outlines maximum working hours and includes other mandatory conditions of employment.

To enroll in the nanny training program, applicants must be Muslim, under 35 years old, be fluent in speaking and writing Arabic and have at least a high school diploma.

They must also have proven child-care experience and agree to a full criminal records check, medical exam and have the appropriate residency papers.

Course expansion

Following a successful first year, the program has already been expanded and 34 new students from Djibuti and Comoros will start their training in the coming weeks. Students from Somalia are also expected to take part “soon.”

Al-Mulla added that future plans for the academy include establishing childcare classes for parents.

Inaugural class valedictorian Oumayat Mohamed Saindou, who grew up in Qatar and lived in Comoros before returning here, said: “It has been a great experience. I have learned so much and I am already working with a lovely family.”

Thoughts?

26 COMMENTS

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٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
6 years ago

I would be interested to know if individuals holding the new “professional nanny” visa are covered under the labor law or if they are excluded like domestic workers?

Noora Al Shehhi
Noora Al Shehhi
5 years ago

No they are not covered, very sad…

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I’m sorry but this is just a joke and this sums it up

“Caring for Qatari children is at the top of Qatar state’s priorities. They represent the future of our nation.”

How about raising your own children, rather than subcontracting to a third party.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Child seats

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

You mean you haven’t heard of the new child seat “pledge” that’s all the rage? It’s going to change everything!

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago

What’s next Qatar ? An academy to teach blue and white collar workers to work like Qataris ? This is a joke !! Firstly…these woman are already muslims…you donot need to educate them on islamic values. How sure are you the employers too do not need education on islamic values ? And its interesting…masters degree holder wanting to work for QR4000. Lastly…I agree with MIMH … nannies are there to fill in when you are busy … not to take over your obligation as a mother.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

I’m sure you meant ‘your obligation as a a parent’ Parwaiz

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

Yup..i stand corrected…parent would be the world to use.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago

It’s a step forward. Anything that improves the situation and image of ‘The Nanny’ has got to be good. Plus education on health and hygiene will benefit the children in their care. The introduction of ‘The Professional Nanny’ is a good move in that it will help highlight the importance of quality child care and not ‘ what’s the cheapest we can get away with paying’.
Come on DN contributors, we use nannies in the west just as much. I don’t see any problem with wanting help to bring up your children.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

I agree with some of your comment, but I definitely don’t believe that “we use nannies in the west just as much.” Do you have any sources to back that up? Anecdotally, my experience is quite opposite of what you stated.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Ok guys. Hands up. A bit of a sweeping generalization to say we use nannies just as much in the west. Didn’t expect to be taken so literally. My mistake.
What I meant was people do have nannies.
Historically, in the ‘west’, the well off did have nannies doing everything for the kids of their employers.
I think it is an unfair sweeping generalisation on your part to assume all or most Qatari families allow the maid to bring up their children with no input from themselves.
Yes some do. We see it in the malls. But not all.
Quite frankly I would have loved to have been able to afford a full time nanny when I was working to take the load off me so that the time out of work was spent enjoying my kids rather than running around after them. Lots of my friends have full time nannies here and maintain a healthy balance.

I still maintain that this effort to create the ‘Professional Nanny’ is a good thing and a step in the right direction for any family wanting to take part in this. Let’s hope it develops and grows. Let’s see if in 12 months these ladies still have employment In this country and that their skills are valued. It will be a sad day for Qatar if it fails.

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

YeAh I’m encouraging of the move, I think it’s a good step in the right direction, especially the wage, but also wondering about the visa situation. But in the west, well I can only speak with experience with OZ and NZ, so the south, haha, no the vast vast vast majority don’t rely on nannies to raise our kids. Various reasons, our culture, too proud, super mum etc and the minimum wage. The minimum wage in OZ is pretty shocking for most people in Qatar, so to hire a nanny is fairly expensive, degree qualified nanny, up there $$$. What we do tho is proper care, like crèches, kindergarten etc ones that are safe physically with fully qualified people running them.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

I agree with you that anything to help the household employees’ situation is good. I just see this as a puffed up program that’s merely lip service and was done for show. It’s another small token in the continuous theme of, “let us show off our money,” and “listen to what we say, but don’t look at what we actually do.”

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

I agree with your main point entirely, but come on I agree with Chillidog Nannies are very rare in the west..
In fact I don’t know anyone who was brought up by a Nanny or anyone who employed a Nanny back home. Whether that’s down to the cost or just down to culture that’s up for debate.
Even in Qatar none of my friends have live in Nannies, just part time help to look after the kids while they are working.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

I had a nanny for most of my younger years. The difference with here was that both my parents worked long hours so after school I went to the nannies house. While there I did homework etc and then when my mother finished work I was collected and brought home. My parents and the nanny were the same nationality.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

I employed a Nanny to look after my child for over 8 years. She didn’t live in, she was well paid was highly qualified and worked a 5 day week. She didn’t ‘bring up’ my child, she provided excellent care, ensured my child spent the day at home rather than in a nursery, ensured social interaction with other children etc etc. WE brought up our child, we employed someone as a trusted and valued member of our family to create a stable, loving environment, reducing the stress for two hard working parents. Stereotypes of ‘lazy’ Mothers is not helpful to the discussion. I think the professionalization of Child Care here in Qatar is to be welcomed. This is the first step, why not applaud the initiative for once. As for salary level- well the market will certainly dictate that once all the Qatari families want this quality of childcare, it will be a premium.

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

We use nannies just as much in the west??? I would love to know what western country has a rate as high as Qatar for nannies. I would venture a guess that over 75% of households in Qatar has help?

Bursin
Bursin
6 years ago

QR3,000 a month to work a 7 days a week. As mentioned it will be interesting to see if the labour law applies to them. I highly doubt it.

Bright Thomas
Bright Thomas
6 years ago

Good effort on setting the salary bar for nannies.

But 3000/4800 for a nanny when minimum salary to bring families to Qatar is 10000? Nanny should be provided an extra room yea? So that’s 9000 (avg) for a 3 bed place. (Assuming master bedroom, kids room, nanny room) Does this equate for most expats?

No in my opinion unless there is some sort of wage standardization across the board.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago

This is interesting, and the comments are all the usual preconcieved notions….

Karen Avery
Karen Avery
6 years ago

It is understandable to have a nanny if you work outside the home and have more than a couple of kids. I had an au-pair when I lived in Switzerland and worked full time but she was off as soon as I got home. But I have seen nannies who are taking clare of the kids while the mothers are at home, often sleeping. If you want your children brought up in your traditions, then get off your duff and take care of your own kids. Hopefully these women will be treated with respect and their duties will be clearly laid out. If their job is to watch the kids, then they shouldn’t be cooking dinner-mom should be doing that or if she is too laze, hire a cook. Mom should be reading to them every night and tucking them in.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  Karen Avery

And where is Dad in all this? Maybe cooking dinner? Incidentally, a professional Nanny does a little more than ‘watch the kids’.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

Meanwhile from another story…“The main reason for this (high absence rate) is the lack of parent awareness about the important role of school in their children’s education,” he said.

Is their any doubt about the problem? This would just seem to exacerbate the problem. Raise your children!

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

not sure how i can defend this! this one, you’re on your own qatar ! why do i have a feeling ten years from surrogate moms will be a normal thing in Qatar..

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

How about starting a ‘parent academy’ where people can learn how to raise their own kids.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

I am dismayed at the comments and tone of discussion here. Firstly, training to be a Nanny is a serious option- look to the west and you will find that it is a well paid profession. Child care is not a joke, it isn’t something to be undertaken lightly, and parents who opt for employing a Nanny clearly want the best for their child. A Nanny is similar to an Early years teacher with some nursing and psychology added to the skill set. This is quite different to a Childminder. This initiative clearly shows Qataris that if you want the best for your child, then you employ someone who has been professionally trained to do the job. I find it insulting that so many of the posters here assume that the Mother must be ‘lazy’, palming her children off because she cant be bothered. Has it escaped your notice that young Qatari women are opting for Higher education and the jobs that follow? Like us western female professionals, they want to do both, just like their partners i.e. have a career and a family. I also firmly believe that a child of non working parent/s, who has an interesting, stimulating structured day will do better at school and life in general than being parked in front of a TV whilst the parents get on with their own lives and a bored maid stops them killing themselves. Stop this stereotypical approach and consider what this will actually achieve in the longer term- little steps, guys, little steps.

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