Teacher shortage hits Independent Schools in Qatar: Official




Sabah Al Haidous, Director of the Education Institute at SEC, said that there will be new standards for selection of teachers and a body will be set up next year to issue licences to all the teachers working with Independent Schools. Al Haidous was participating in the monthly Lakom Al Qarar, (Decision is Yours) show on Qatar TV, which is sponsored by the Qatar Foundation.

“SEC is preparing to open 40 new Independent Schools next year. The challenge these schools are facing is to hire qualified teachers to execute their ambitious plans in education,” said Al Haidous.

“Here, we are not getting University graduates and that is why we are depending on graduates from the Ministry of Education. People are still shying away from joining this job,” she added. Several students, teachers and other members of the academic community were present at the show, where Al Haidous answered queries from the participants.
Participants at the Lakom Al Qarar, (Decision is Yours) show on Qatar TV, which is sponsored by the Qatar Foundation.

Asked why the SEC decided to set up Independent Schools instead of developing the government schools in the country, Al Haidous said: “The idea behind the reform process was not to abolish the existing system but to develop it. For this we should develop the education tools. It was not simple. It was difficult to develop the Ministry schools because they were centralised.”

She said the next stage of the reform process will focus on private schools, after all government schools in the country are converted to Independent Schools. “This reform needed to be very fast and if we wait for studies and researches, we will be denying opportunities for generations for quality education. Our motto is to provide various options in education for nationals as well as expatriates,” said Al Haidous.

She called upon the society to take responsibility for monitoring the performance of the Independent Schools. “The success of the experience relies on the society. The reform came to fulfill the need of the government to prepare qualified cadres,” said Al Haidous.

Asked why the Independent School graduates are gaining less marks compared to International School graduates, Al Haidous said, “Our ambition is to reach the levels of international schools but it cannot be achieved overnight. We need 12 years for graduation.”

On the criticism that Independent Schools are not laying emphasis on Islamic values, the official said, “It is not true. We have Islamic subjects in the syllabus similar to the Ministry schools. If the parents feel that it is not enough, they should not keep silent. There is a Communication Office to follow up these things."

For social science and Islamic studies, Independent Schools are now using books issued by the Ministry of Education. “We are now developing the Islamic studies syllabus because the Education Ministry curriculum is not sufficient to meet our requirements,” she added.

Asked why the Arabic language is weak in Independent Schools, Al Haidous said, “It is too early to judge since the Independent Schools were established only four years ago. Some developed countries take about 30 years to judge the success of an education reform process.” The shortage of school buildings is another major problem facing the SEC and the establishment of 40 new Independent Schools next year is expected to address this to some extent, she added.

The one-hour show ended with a voting among the participants on whether the Independent Schools had raised the standards of education in Qatar. Fifty-three per cent of the participants said no while the remaining 47 per cent felt the opposite.




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