DOHA: Faced with a high rate of absenteeism in some Independent schools, the Supreme Education Council (SEC) has initiated tough action against students skipping classes frequently.
From this academic year students without the required attendance will not be allowed to sit for final exams, the Minister of Education and Higher Education H E Dr Mohammed Abdul Wahed Ali Al Hammadi said yesterday.
“Attendance of some students is very low, therefore we decided to punish those who have failed to achieve the required attendance level, without acceptable reasons,” said Dr Al Hammadi.
He said 15 new private schools and seven new branches of the existing private schools are ready to open for the new academic year, which begins next Sunday.
The new schools include six Qatari, four Indian, two British, two American and a Finnish school. “All (new) schools are ready for opening except two Independent school Kindergartens, which have postponed their opening until beginning of October,” said Dr Al Hammadi, speaking at a press conference yesterday.
“We began to expand Independent and private schools to meet the increasing demand from an increasing population,” he added.
With opening of the new facilities, the number of Independent schools has increased to 178 and private schools to 154.
The number of students in Independent schools has reached 105,191 and 138,347 at private schools in the new academic year.
Another 22 new schools will open in the next academic year in different parts of the country, he added.
The SEC has put a 10 percent cap on fee hike for private schools. However, some schools with a very low fee structure have been allowed to raise their fees by up to 25 percent, said the Minister. Permission to increase the fees has been given based on a scientific assessment system, he added.
“Some schools have been given an exception to increase their fees by up to 25 percent only if they had a very low fee structure earlier,” said Dr Al Hammadi.
A new law has been drafted to amend the education voucher system for Qatari students in private schools. Educational voucher is an amount of money allocated by the state to Qatari students to cover all or part of the cost of study at private schools included the educational voucher system.
A new document will be soon issued to regulate the conduct of the academic and non academic staff in the educations sector. An assessment system for school administrators too will be introduced soon.
“As we started disciplinary education for students last year, this year we will introduce a similar system for the staff to enhance their values and morals,” said Dr Al Hammadi.
New facilities have been introduced by the Shared Services Department of SEC to ensure the safety of students.
Many schools have been upgraded with new fire alarm systems and air conditioning systems. The number of students in schools buses has been restricted. A maximum of 29 to 35 students will be allowed in one school bus. Buses for kindergarten schools will take only 25 students and they will have toilets.
“Our concern is safety of students. We have taken care of the safety of school buildings, food sold at school canteens as well as the safety of school buses,” said Nasser Al Malki, Director, Shared Services Department, at SEC.