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Monday, May 10, 2021

SEC shortens independent schools’ day as Doha temperatures rise

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school

With reporting from Nada Badawi and Ankita Menon

Citing the onset of the summer heat, the Supreme Education Council (SEC) has told government-run independent schools in Qatar to reduce their school day by 1.5 hours from June 1.

The directive means that independent schools must now finish teaching by noon every day, instead of their usual completion time of 1:30pm. Teachers, however, would continue with normal working hours, the Peninsula reports.

Schools have been asked to adjust timetables so “core subjects” are not affected by the shorter hours.

The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the changes.

Earlier this month, local Arabic daily Al Raya ran a story that featured comments from parents urging the SEC to make the change. Gulf News translates:

“Students cannot really focus on their studies after midday and they should be allowed to go home,” one parent told the paper.  “Shorter hours would stimulate their concentration and would reinforce their desire to learn and to achieve academically.”

According to the SEC’s latest annual report, independent schools already have the fewest number of teaching hours per week in Qatar, compared to private Arabic schools and international schools. The report stated that teachers spend:

  • 21 hours/week in lessons in international schools;
  • 16.5 hours/week in private Arabic schools; and
  • 13.6 hours/week in independent schools.

Private schools unaffected

So far, it seems that the ruling does not apply to private schools in Qatar, which are allowed to set their own school hours.

Some school systems, such as those from India and the Philippines, require schools to teach during the summer months.

Speaking to Doha News, the Ideal Indian School told us that they have not been notified of any changes to their school hours, which currently run from 6:50am to 1:20pm for all students. The school will, however, operate shorter hours during Ramadan.

The Philippine School Doha also confirmed that its school hours will remain the same when the school year begins next month.

Meanwhile, staff at British curriculum school Doha College also told us they had not received any new guidance from the SEC, and that they planned to continue with existing school hours until the end of the summer term late next month.

Similarly, Compass International school also said they had heard nothing about new school hours from the SEC.

Date changes

While the alterations to school hours are unusual, they come at a time when Qatar is experiencing one of its hottest May months in years.

And last-minute changes to school term dates are not unprecedented here.

Last November, for example, most private schools were told to alter their February 2014 mid-term breaks, in an effort to harmonize the school calendar across Qatar.

And in September last year, a move to unify summer holidays in Qatar meant that some schools were unable to open to students on the dates they had planned.

Thoughts?

20 COMMENTS

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rambling rose
rambling rose
6 years ago

Just over 13 hrs per week is very low.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  rambling rose

Ok, so 13.6 teaching hours over a five-day school week is about 2 hours and 43 minutes per day. If the school day starts sometime between 7 and 8 in the morning and gets out at 1:30, that’s between 5.5 and 6.5 hours at school each day. What are the kids doing for the rest of the school day? Or is the math used to figure out the number of teaching hours per week indicitave of the level of education kids are receiving in this country?

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

Don’t they have air conditioning?

Another genius move from the SEC. Failing schools and poorly education children? Let’s reduce the school day AND the school year.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

I’ve never set foot in an independent school, but my assumption would be that they are air conditioned just like the rest of the schools here. Which begs the question: what does heat have to do with anything? Not depriving the kids of 7.5 hours of air conditioned classroom time each week would sure help in improving the country’s dismal education status. But unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be as important as placating the parents and kids…

superkev
superkev
6 years ago

Another ill thought through instruction from those folks at the SEC. They must be assuming that all children are cared for my nannies and maids with drivers… God forbid the thought that children are actually cared for by working mothers and fathers…..

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

It’s a shame if parents who send their children to these ‘educational’ institutions don’t scream bloody murder at the SEC for capping the hours of education. After all, they really are murdering their children’s future :-/

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

Ahhh another idea they have plucked out of the air… The hot air apparently. The air that is too hot to teach or learn in…

SparkyfaeDalry
SparkyfaeDalry
6 years ago

If we can’t have kids at school during the Summer months how the can a World Cup possibly be held then?? even with A/C in both situations

Virginia
Virginia
6 years ago

Another daft idea. If the kids are too tired, perhaps the parent could ensure they get adequate sleep and not take them to the damn mall at 10pm on a school night. How can these educational institutes get through the curriculum if there is less teaching time, not to mention expecting schools to suddenly reshuffle all the classes a month before the end of the school year. Ah well, at least the PE teachers can relax and put their fet up!

zoeval
zoeval
6 years ago

Well, that’s really forging ahead to a knowledge-based society!

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

This only applies for the finals testing period which starts from 1 june

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Is this a joke from the Pan Arabia Inquirer? If not it’s all been said but this… PISA rates will drop further no doubt.

kubaru
kubaru
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

They can’t really drop a lot. Not much space for that, you know.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  kubaru

Yep, pretty much when you are ranked 63 out of 65 the fall isn’t too far.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Bright side is at least the afternoon school run will be easier!

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

It’s probably because there has never been a summer in Qatar before and there is no way that the SEC could have planned this in advance. Kids take note – the SEC is doing its upmost to ensure your education is as good as theirs.

wee_johnnie
wee_johnnie
6 years ago

Will there be a reduction in the school fees in line with the reduced number of hours being taught ???

jb80
jb80
6 years ago

Where are these international schools that only teach for 21 hours a week and do they need any new staff?!

kubaru
kubaru
6 years ago

And Qatar still keeps fourth-from-the-bottom place on international academic tests, right?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Who runs the SEC and are they permamently drunk? I assume that these children are taught in classrooms that have a/c, they are not labourers toiling outside in the summer heat.

The lesson you are giving these children, is it is ok to be lazy and when it gets a bit tough just give up and let someone else do it.

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