DOHA: A law passed yesterday makes it mandatory for play schools, nurseries and crèches in the country to be licensed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs after making a security deposit of QR100,000 and fulfilling several other conditions.
Existing child care facilities must apply for a licence within six months, says the law, authorizing the Minister (of Labour and Social Affairs) to extend the above period.
A child care facility that operates without a valid licence in breach of the new law will be liable to be fined up to QR100,000 and its owner could face a jail term of up to two years.
According to the legislation, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs will be setting up a separate administration to deal with play schools, nurseries and crèches. This is the first time a separate law is being enforced to regulate these facilities.
These facilities were until now regulated by the laws that govern private schools and kindergartens that are licensed and monitored by the education authorities.
In kindergartens, children above four years of age are admitted.
In a nursery, play school or crèche, children who are below four years are to be taken in for care, says the law (Number 1 of 2014) that was passed by the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported that the law is to be enforced after being published in the official gazette.
The legislation asks the Minister to frame executive regulations to help enforce the law, and until then the existing rules will apply.
Every licensed nursery or play school will need to have a female director and a female assistant, a supervisor and a qualified nutritionist, and everyone directly responsible for child care must also be a woman.
Staff members not directly concerned with child care could be men. It is mandatory for every nursery and play school to have a driver, security guards and cleaning staff.
All staff members of such a facility must be separately certified by the Ministry and will be regulated by the labour law. The qualifications of the director, her assistant, supervisor and nutritionist and those of the child care staff are to be decided by the Minister.
Every such facility must have arrangement with a qualified and licensed nurse or doctor and the latter will need to pay regular visits.
Every nursery, play school or crèche must frame its internal administrative rules within a month after acquiring the licence and determine the fee and specify what types of services it would provide, including healthcare, food and entertainment.
The rules, as also the fee structures, must be approved by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, says the law.
Special inspectors, armed with judicial powers to be conferred by the Public Prosecution, would be paying regular visits to check compliance of these facilities with the law.