Education in Qatar follows a system of distinct levels. After preschool, primary school ranges from Grades 1 to 6, preparatory school from Grades 7 to 9 and secondary school from Grades 10 to 12. Basic education for adults aged 18 and older is also available. Secondary school provides a choice between general education and specialised schools for specific interests, including banking, business administration, and science and technology.

Expats moving to Qatar face myriad challenges, but navigating the emirate’s education system needn’t be one of them. Most expats send their children to one of the many private international schools in the country, and the biggest headache is often having to choose one from the sheer variety of superlative choices.

Parents should research potential schools and apply as soon as possible. 

Public schools in Qatar

Public schools in Qatar are generally excellent, as Qatar continues to invest in its education to elevate the knowledge, skills and, ultimately, the lives of its citizens. Although public schools are free for Qatari nationals, schools have their own policies for admitting non-Qatari students.

Useful links

  • The official website of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education provides a list of schools that may be a good fit.

International schools in Qatar

Although the government puts significant effort into ensuring high standards at local schools, most expat children attend private international schools in Qatar due to restrictions and language barriers at public schools. 

There are many options, with schools following various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate (IB), British, American and Indian systems. These schools must meet the standards of the Qatar National School Accreditation system.

Education can be a significant expense, so expats working in Doha should try to negotiate school fees into their contracts or ensure that they budget carefully. Fees such as tuition and registration fees, uniforms, and excursions can add up quickly, and most fees are expected to be paid upfront at the beginning of the school year.

Enrolment requires long-term planning, as waiting lists are often long and application fees high – and often non-refundable. An application form and previous school documents are usually among the required documents. Some schools also request a letter of recommendation, on-site entrance exams and occasionally interviews.

See our reviews on International Schools in Doha.

Nurseries in Qatar

Qatar recognises the importance of early childhood education, and there are many public and private kindergartens. Private ones may be attached to larger international schools.

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education emphasises that kindergarten should encourage children to be active, creative, and able to question and criticise while developing their own personalities. Young children can explore basic numeracy and science, but focusing on their physical development and creative expression is paramount.

Expats needn’t worry about a language barrier in Qatari nurseries – young kids pick up new languages easily, and the curriculum offers communication in both Arabic and English. All nurseries, both public and private, offer top-quality educational and play materials, as well as experienced teachers.

Special-needs education in Qatar

Empowering people with disabilities is one of Qatar’s top priorities, and this includes providing quality special-needs education integrated with mainstream classrooms wherever possible.

Public and private schools provide support for students with learning, physical or developmental disabilities as well as those with behavioural, emotional and communication disorders, including students with autism and intellectual disabilities.

Schools must tailor services to each student. Curricula may be adapted to meet appropriate educational goals, and specialised materials and technology are employed to aid in the learning process. Specialists, alongside teaching staff, are responsible for providing optimal support to children and their parents.

Though schools are becoming increasingly integrated, there are specialised schools that specifically cater to students with disabilities and still provide a comprehensive education programme. Specialised schools include Al-Hidaya schools for students with intellectual disabilities and separate schools for students with hearing impairments.

Homeschooling in Qatar

Homeschooling is an option for Qatari residents. Doha Home Educators (DHE) has been pivotal in creating an organised network for homeschoolers in Doha and regularly organises classroom lessons, activities, and events. Parents who choose this alternative to mainstream schooling in Qatar will find an active community of expats who can be reached online and through social media groups.

Given the vague homeschooling regulations for expats in Qatar, DHE advises parents to follow the regulations of their home country.

Tutors in Qatar

Tutoring in Qatar, like elsewhere around the world, is a popular industry. There are many online platforms to find tutors for a broad spectrum of subjects and curricula – some tutors may focus on IB or IGCSE and A-Levels, while others use the Qatari curriculum. TeacherOn and MyPrivateTutor are among the most commonly used online platforms.

Useful links

  •  TeacherOn is an international online service that connects tutors and students for a variety of subjects.
  •  To have your child matched with a wide range of tutors, try MyPrivateTutor Qatar.

Expat Health Insurance

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Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

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  • Paediatric coverage for well-child visits & immunizations
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