Dr Ali bin Fetais Al Marri (left), President of the Administration Council at Lycee Voltaire, and Helen Farnaud-Defromont (right), Director General of Agency for French Teaching Abroad greet each other, as Helene Conway-Mouret, Minister Delegate for French National Abroad at Lycee Voltaire, looks on during the signing ceremony yesterday. Shaival Dalal
DOHA: To accommodate increasing number of students, Lycee Voltaire French School in Qatar will open its third branch, Helene Conway-Mouret, Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad in Doha, said yesterday.
Mouret, who is on a two-day official visit to Qatar, said the school has a challenge to meet the growing number of applications from students.
The first branch of Lycee Voltaire was officially inaugurated by the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, and the second by President Francois Hollande last year.
There are over 1,000 students in both the branches. A total of 160 children aged three years were admitted to the kindergarten in 2013. Around 40 percent of students at Lycee Voltaire are Qatari, 20 percent French and 40 percent other nationals.
The medium of education in the school, which starts from primary to middle school, is French, Arabic and English.
“We face many challenges at the school. The first is always to fit to French programmes, and get accredited, in which we are succeeding.
“The second challenge is the growing number of applicants, because every year hundreds of children apply, although we have two branches, it’s not enough and we need a third,” said Mouret.
She was speaking at a ceremony at Lycee Voltaire to sign an agreement between the school and Agency for French Teaching Abroad.
It was signed by the Attorney-General, Ali bin Fetais Al Marri, also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the school, and Helen Farnaud Defromont, Director General, Agency for French Teaching Abroad.
“Three areas are important for Qataris and other Arabs — teaching Shariah, Arabic language and separation between boys and girls after a certain age.
“Every time we have encountered problems, our French friends understood, because the most essential for us is to have francophone Qataris that are attached to their language and religion,” said Al Marri.
He said the new branch will open next year, although he didn’t disclose the location or details.
Agency for French Teaching Abroad is a public establishment under the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and coordinates and manages the French education network abroad.
It has two missions: To ensure continuity in the public education service for French children outside France and help spread the French language and culture abroad.
Speaking about the agreement, Defromont said, “It’s a technical deal between Agency for French Teaching Abroad and the school. We will help the school keep good quality of French education, very important as we have students from France, Qatar and other countries.” The Peninsula