Qatar has recognized the importance of a well-educated population and during the former emir Hamad (2005–2013) a strong investment was initiated with the aim of making the country the center of education and research in the region of the Persian Gulf.
A state education system was introduced in 1956. The school consists of three stages (six plus three plus three years). For Qatari citizens, both girls and boys, compulsory schooling equivalent to compulsory school and high school is compulsory from the age of 6 to 18, for foreign children up to ninth grade. In 2013, the preschool became compulsory from the age of three.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Qatar, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
The state schools attach great importance to English, mathematics and other natural science subjects.
In the early 2000s, private schools were allowed. Nowadays, more than half of the schools are run privately, but like the state schools, they are subject to a special supervisory authority. Private schools may charge fees while state schools are free of charge for Qatari citizens up to the university level.
Minority groups have been encouraged to start schools for their children, with their own curricula. This has led to especially Indian and Filipino students having access to their own schools. However, among the low-paid migrant workers, there are many who find it difficult to meet school fees. A reporter who, on behalf of the UN, examined the school systems in Qatar in 2019 found that about 4,000 school-age children did not attend school.
Qatar has its own state university but in the 2000s a number of foreign, mainly American, universities also opened branches in the country. About two-thirds of the students are women and Qatar is consciously investing in women’s education. Many Qatarians, mainly men but to an increasing extent also women, still choose to study abroad, usually in the United States, the United Kingdom or in any other Arab country.
About a tenth of the state’s expenditure goes to education.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Qatar, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
94.4 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
89.0 percent (2004)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
8.9 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
8.9 percent (2017)
General military duty is introduced
Qatar decides, from 2014, to introduce mandatory military service for all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 35.
New alarm report on guest workers
Amnesty International reports on serious misconduct in the construction sector, where many of the country’s 1.5 million guest workers work. The working conditions for guest workers in Qatar have previously drawn criticism from the outside world and created questions about the country’s suitability to host the 2022 Soccer World Cup.
The Emirate supports Union proposals
Emir Tamim conducts state visits in several countries on the Persian Gulf where he emphasizes the importance of forming a union in line with a proposal from Saudi Arabia presented in 2011.
Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani takes power when his father, Sheikh Hamad, abdicates after 18 years on the throne. Tamim is 33 years old and now becomes the youngest leader in the Persian Gulf countries. Although the change of power came unexpectedly for the outside world, it is not considered to radically change Qatar’s political line, as Tamim over the years gradually introduced into Qatar’s power apparatus. The new emir already designates a new government the next day with new prime minister, Abdullah bin Nasir Al Thani, who will also become interior minister.
Increased financial support for Egypt
Qatar decides to give Egypt $ 3 billion in aid, in addition to the $ 5 billion already given since the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. The decision is made despite the fact that a month earlier, Qatar’s finance minister declared that no more money will be given to Egypt.