DOHA: Several private schools are on the lookout for new premises to shift extra students, with the Supreme Education Council (SEC) strictly enforcing a ceiling on student enrolment.
These schools have been informed about the maximum number of students they can admit in their existing premises and asked to stop new admissions if they have already reached saturation level, it has been learnt.
The nearly-a-dozen Indian schools in Qatar, which together have the largest number of expatriate students on their rolls are among the worst hit by the new regulations. With their academic year beginning this month, most of these schools have a long waiting list of new applicants but hardly any seats to offer.
The SEC has asked all private schools not to put more than 30 students in one class. This has forced most Indian schools to stop new admissions since they have already crossed this ceiling.
Officials of several Indian schools say that the only option for them is to expand their facilities but that is not possible in the short-term.
“We currently have more than 5,900 students on our rolls but as per SEC guidelines we have to reduce the numbers to 4,338 which is the maximum allowed in the current premises. The SEC has asked us to look for new premises if we want to admit more students. So we have stopped all new admissions and are now searching for a new building to expand our facilities,” principal of Ideal Indian School Syed Showkath Ali told this daily yesterday.
He said it is difficult to find purpose-built premises in Doha and if at all some buildings are available, the rents are prohibitive.
The school, which started the new academic year yesterday has a waiting list of more than 1,500 students seeking admission but could take in only a few students in the KG section, he said.
An official of the MES Indian School, which earlier claimed to have more than 10,000 students on its rolls, said that the school has completely stopped admissions following the SEC regulations and has reduced the number of students by at least 1,000.
“We are not even maintaining a waiting list because we cannot offer seats to any student in the near future. We are seriously thinking about an expansion but it will take time,” said principal A P Sasidharan.
Birla Public School (BPS), which had closed admissions several months ago, is also on the lookout for a new building for expansion, said principal A K Srivastava.
“We are keen for an expansion but the scarcity of purpose-built premises is the main problem,” he said. He said at least two new Indian schools are expected to open in Qatar later this year and this would address the problem to some extent.