DOHA: Repeated complaints related to misbehaviour of students in Independent schools have forced the Supreme Education Council (SEC) to act decisively and lay down tough rules to curb indiscipline.
A decision by the Minister of Education and Higher Education and Secretary General of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) H E Mohammed Abdul Wahed Al Hammadi has clearly identified the behavioural problems among students and put forward a mechanism to handle such cases.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Minister had said that student discipline will be given top priority in the new academic year to build confidence among teachers and maintain a good educational environment in schools.
Besides common practices such as skipping classes and disturbing others, the Ministerial decision has identified serious disorders such as expressing racial and sectarian intolerance in the school, promoting immorality and obscene material, sexual harassment, and forging official documents.
The disciplinary action will not be restricted to the campus. Students who misbehave in the school bus and endanger others’ safety and those engaging in daredevilry with their cars and reckless driving also face action.
The decision has given a bigger role to school counsellors in maintaining discipline. They have been brought directly under the Education Institute of the SEC. Their task includes studying behavoural problems and suggesting solutions. They are given a supervisory role in the process.
It is their job to communicate with parents and decide whether a student should be removed from the school for misbehaviour. Such students can even be taken out of regular schools and shifted to the evening schools. The counsellors will also coordinate with NGOs like Al Aween social rehabilitation center and the Qatar Foundation for Protection of Women and Children as part of their work.
Each school should set up a special committee comprising principal, vice principal, student coordinator, administrative supervisor and teachers to deal with discipline related issues.
Parents should be duly informed about the new regulations to ensure their co-operation and support.
The ministerial decision has classified the behavioural problems in four broad categories.
They range from arriving late in the classes, failure to bring textbooks, bringing mobile phone to the school to serious offences like carrying weapons and using or promoting drugs in the campus.
Producing false sick leave certificates and documents with false signatures has also been classified as a violation.
Student’s age should be taken into consideration while deciding punishments.
The school should record and document all cases related to student discipline and the cases should be handled in strict confidentiality.
Giving encouragement to students who observe outstanding behaviour by honouring them in public functions has also been recommended.