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DOHA: The strict safety rules being imposed by the Supreme Education Council (SEC) have forced many private schools to restrict admissions, leading to long waiting lists of applicants.
Several Indian and Pakistani schools that are set to begin their new academic year next month are finding it hard to accommodate new students, despite the huge demand, due to a severe space crunch.
Most of these schools are operating in full capacity and have limited scope for expansion in their existing premises, it is learnt.
The SEC has now banned portacabins in school premises due to safety reasons. Many schools that had been traditionally relying on makeshift cabins to accommodate new students are now left with no option but to limit admissions.
“Portacabins had been an easy way for schools to add new classes but they are no more permitted. Most schools have now shifted to purpose-built premises to meet the SEC requirements and have little scope for further expansion,” said an official of an Indian school in Abu Hamour.
All schools say they have long waiting list of applicants but very few seats to offer.
“We have already closed admissions to KG classes and have very few vacancies in higher classes. We have taken a decision not to put more than 30 students in one class to ensure quality,” said Abdul Razaq, Academic Director of Scholar’s International, the newest Indian school that opened in Qatar last year.
He said majority of new applicants are not new-comers to the country but are those shifting from other schools.
School sources say the SEC is not so strict about the number of students in each class but technically it is not possible to put more than 40.
“All private schools are required to update students data in the beginning of the academic year and the SEC database will not accept more than 40 students in one class. Schools are also required to provide information about expected vacancies every year,” said an official of Ideal Indian School.
The high number of applicants has forced some Indian schools to restrict admissions to only Indian students.
“We have more than 150 Arab students on the waiting list, mostly Sudanese and Egyptians. We don’t have enough seats even for Indian applicants. So we have been forced to restrict admissions to a few Indian students,” said an official.
He said many Arab students were opting for Indian schools due the relatively low fees and the high emphasis on English language and core subjects.
A senior official of the Pakistan Education Center said the school had witnessed a surge in the number of admission-seekers this year.
“We have closed admissions to KG classes and a few seats are available in some higher classes. We are taking students after a thorough screening to ensure quality.”
The severe shortage of seats has left many parents disappointed.
“My two children are studying in an Indian school and I want to put my third child there. But the management says there is no vacancy,” lamented an Egyptian parent.