In a bid to address an acute shortage of school places in Qatar, the government has announced plans to build 44 new schools and kindergartens over the next couple of years.
The Public Works Authority, Ashghal, has made an ambitious pledge to finish construction of the 29 schools and 15 kindergartens by the end of 2014.
Ashghal also said that it will complete 16 new schools and kindergartens in time for the beginning of the new school year this September.
It’s clear that the government is keen to ease the school place shortage in both the state and private education sectors.
At least two of these new sites have been allocated to private schools – one to new Spanish school SEK, and another to Doha College for a new campus in West Bay. Both of these new schools will open in two months’ time.
School place shortage
School places are becoming increasingly difficult to secure in Qatar, where the school building program has so far failed to keep up with country’s rapid population growth.
Popular schools have very long waiting lists, with application numbers tripling for some establishments in the last year.
Headteachers at popular private schools have also stated that companies are finding it hard to recruit professional staff to come to Doha, as there are not enough school places for their children.
President of Ashghal Nasser Ali Al Mawlawi has told journalists that it will take several years to resolve the school place shortage, but that the government is committed to making it happen:
“It will take at least another couple of years to address the issue, but more needs to be done to achieve the ambitious objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030…
Education is a key pillar of social progress, and new contracts demonstrate Ashghal’s unwavering contribution to this crucial sector.”
New school locations
The new schools will be built both in Doha and in villages around Qatar. According to Gulf Times, they will be located in:
Al Waab, Al Aziziya, Umm Ghuwailina, Al Rayyan, Aba Al Hayran, Old Airport, Oneiza, Al Wukair, Al Khissa, Al Luqta, Madinat Khalifa South, Madinat Khalifa North, Onaiza, Rawdat Al Hamama, Al Thameed, Al Hilal, Nuaijaa, Al Thumama, Al Karaana, Mesaieed, Rowdat Rashid and Umme Salal Mohammed.
And the 10 new kindergartens will be built in:
Madinat Khalifa, Lijmiliya, Rawdat Egdaim, Al Mearad, Jeryan Jenaihat, Mebaireek, Al Hareen, Nuaija and Old Airport, and five more in Al Hilal, Leghwairya, and Al Rayyan.
Last month, the government made it compulsory for all Qatari children to start school at age three, therefore increasing the demand for kindergarten places significantly.
Credit: Photo by Cinderellasg