Education in Doha is of a world-class standard. A wide range of private international schools in Doha caters to a variety of needs and follow various curricula from all over the world, including British, American, French, German and Canadian.
While expat children are eligible to attend some Qatari schools in Doha, most parents opt to send their children to international schools. These offer a smoother transition for children accustomed to studying their home country's curriculum. Some parents in Doha prefer homeschooling, although legislation on this issue is ambiguous, which presents its own challenges. Qatar's Hukoomi e-portal can help parent's find answers to some of their questions surrounding education.
Public schools in Doha
Public schools in Doha receive government funding and provide free tuition to all citizens and eligible expat students. Most students are Qatari, although expats with the right connections might be able to secure a place. The quality of education at these schools is excellent, and they’re a good option for foreigners looking to settle down in Doha long-term and want their children to be integrated into Qatari society.
Public and independent schools share the same compulsory subjects: Arabic, English, maths, science and Islamic studies. Overseen by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, public schools include preschool, primary school (grades one to six), preparatory school (grades seven to nine) and secondary school (grades 10 to 12).
At secondary school, students can select either general education or specialisations in a technical school such as those for banking, business administration, and science and technology.
International schools in Doha
Even though the standards of local schools are good, most expat children attend private international schools in Doha. There are various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate (IB), British, American, Canadian, German, French and Indian systems. Most families choose a curriculum similar to the one in their home country, while families who move frequently often prefer the IB curriculum.
When choosing a school, parents must consider a few factors, such as curriculum and whether it’s internationally recognised, facilities, proximity to home and work, and transport options. Rush hour in Doha means that children can spend hours travelling to and from school, and not all schools provide a bus service. Living close to school makes it easier for expat kids and their parents.
Expats should also make sure that a school is accredited by Qatar National School Accreditation (QNSA) and recognised in their home country.
Education in Doha can be a significant expense, so parents should try to negotiate school fees into their employment contract or ensure that they budget carefully. We also recommend that parents plan well in advance to secure a place for their child, as waiting lists are long and various documentation is required, including visa and residence permits, previous school records, records of the child's health history, and a letter of recommendation.
Nurseries in Doha
Expats with young kids can easily find a suitable nursery in Doha, either public or private. Sometimes, larger international schools will have nurseries linked to them.
Qatari kindergartens encourage children to be active and creative, aiming to help them grow and develop their personalities. Nurseries in Doha offer high-quality educational and play materials with experienced teachers. Young children are unlikely to face language barriers, as they learn both English and Arabic in public nurseries, while private daycares cater to additional languages.
Special-needs education in Doha
Empowering persons with disabilities is one of Qatar’s top priorities, and this includes quality integrated special-needs education in mainstream classrooms where possible.
In most cases, schools, both public and private, tailor support services to meet diverse needs. These programmes include learning-, physical- or developmental disabilities, behavioural-, emotional- and communication disorders, and students with autism and intellectual disabilities.
Comprehensive and integrated teaching incorporates adapting curricula, introducing and engaging with specialised materials and technology, as well as support from specialists and all school staff.
Though schools are becoming increasingly integrated, there are specialised schools that specifically cater to students with disabilities. Specialised schools include Al-Hidaya schools for students with intellectual disabilities and separate schools for students with hearing impairments.
Homeschooling in Doha
Some parents avoid the admissions process in Doha and decide on homeschooling. Doha Home Educators (DHE) has been pivotal in creating an organised network for homeschoolers and regularly organises lessons, activities and events. Given the vague homeschooling regulations in Qatar, DHE advises expat parents to follow the regulations of their home country.
Tutors in Doha
Tutoring in Doha, like elsewhere around the world, is a popular and growing industry. There are many online platforms where expats can find tutors for a wide spectrum of subjects, languages and curricula, from the IB, IGCSE and A-Levels to the Qatari curriculum. TeacherOn and MyPrivateTutor are among the most commonly used online platforms.
Are you an expat living in Doha?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Doha. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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