DOHA: The number of students enrolled in schools in Qatar has reached over 243,000, up more than 51,000 since 2013 or more than 25 percent.
There are 178 Independent and 154 private schools, including international, Arabic, community and embassy schools.
In 2013, there were 47 kindergartens, including eight that were opened. This year six new kindergartens have been added.
Also this year, 15 new schools have been added and seven private schools allowed to set up branches in different parts of the country to cope with increasing demand.
In 2013, in 178 Independent schools some 98,332 students were enrolled. The number has reached 105,191 this year.
Private school enrolment last year was 94,177 and has gone up this year to 138,347 — by over 40 percent.
This shows that more expatriate families have entered the country this year as is evidenced from the increase in the population.
As on August 31 last year, the population was 1,804,817 or over 1.8m. On August 31 this year, the figure was 2,077,357, up 212,540.
Meanwhile, as schools reopen on Sunday, limited-income expat families with school-going children feel financially constrained in these times of rising prices.
Community sources say depending on which school children go and a family’s income, they must spend about QR500 to QR1,000 on average on a child preparing to go back to school after the long summer break. Book and stationery shops and commercial centres selling school items are doing brisk business, with nearly all having launched back-to-school promotions.
For students in some communities like Indians and Filipinos, this is technically not the back-to-school season as their academic year began earlier, although their schools were closed for the summer and reopen on Sunday.
In the cash-rich Qatari community, many students buy stationery in bulk as they give away these items to friends as gift.
There are hardly any complaints about rising prices of school items this back-to-school season.
An expatriate said he had bought school items like notebooks and pencils for his children from his country during vacation, thinking they would be cheaper.
But he said he was surprised to find that prices were better here.