Shura Council Discusses Education Issues and Efforts to Develop Educational System

20 February 2023

The Shura Council held its regular weekly session, in "Tamim bin Hamad Hall", headed by HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim.

In the presence of HE Minister of Education and Higher Education Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi, the council discussed the most important educational issues, especially in terms of education development initiatives, implementation of the relevant ministry's strategic plans, teacher training, education for people with disabilities, achievements and future plans.

At the beginning of the presentation, HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education referred to the education process in Qatar and the development witnessed by the educational system during the last fifteen years, and new directions in light of the country's development strategies and the new approach imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Her Excellency highlighted some relevant educational statistics and indicators, as the number of students in the general education stage exceeds 326,000 students distributed in about 600 schools, while the number of higher education students reaches more than 35,000 in 33 university educational institutions.

Her Excellency also revealed the progress achieved by the educational system during the past fifteen years in terms of academic and cognitive achievement, which is reflected in the international tests for students, as it reached (414 points in mathematics, up from 318), in reading (407 points, up from 312), and in science (419 points up from 349), according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

In a related context, Her Excellency referred to the expansion of the establishment of private schools, the development of curricular standards and national professional standards for teachers, the launch of training programs for educational cadres, in addition to licensing and accreditation for all school employees.

Her Excellency confirmed that since 2018, the Ministry has strengthened the focus on improving the quality of education in the country, especially with regard to granting fair opportunities for all learners to enroll in high-quality educational programs, training the workforce to be efficient and qualified, characterized by performance and commitment to work ethics.

Her Excellency indicated that there are four main axes for the development of the educational system in the State of Qatar, stemming from the four pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Her Excellency explained that the first axis is the axis of students, in which their capabilities are strengthened and they acquire the basic and necessary skills to keep pace with the requirements of reality, instilling in them the values of the Qatari identity, developing and strengthening them.

Her Excellency pointed out that the second axis is related to teachers, as it aims to attract, train and develop them, pay attention to those with international competencies, and find various options for professional development.

With regard to the third axis, Her Excellency indicated that it focuses on schools, seeking to be safe, advanced and attractive, developing early education services and raising enrollment rates, and building a comprehensive educational experience, aiming to improve the quality of school life for students.

On the fourth axis, Her Excellency explained that it focuses on the ministry through developing institutional capacities, while ensuring the highest level of transparency and accountability, and building partnerships with families, and the public and private sectors, in order to achieve efficiency, equality, inclusiveness, growth and innovation in the educational system.

Her Excellency also touched on the various initiatives of the Ministry, which stem from the four main axes, and efforts to enhance the educational process in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, reviewing the most important of these initiatives, their objectives and foundations.

Her Excellency stressed that the Ministry took into account a number of guiding principles when designing the initiatives, the most important of which is not to neglect any student, and to promote public schools as a preferred choice for students, and to ensure a well-organized private sector, based on its being a partner in the educational process, as well as improving the quality and efficiency of the entire system.

Her Excellency also affirmed the Ministry's keenness to attract qualified teachers, focus on Qataris among them, build and develop their capabilities, and provide them with the necessary tools and capabilities to enable them to teach according to the highest quality standards.

Her Excellency noted the Ministry's interest in people with disabilities, by integrating them into the educational process, and creating a suitable environment for them to enhance their capabilities and provide them with all support.

Within this framework, Her Excellency referred to the establishment of a number of specialized schools for people with disabilities, including Al-Hedaya Schools, which seeks to make a quantum leap by providing a range of specialized programs in the fields of behavioral therapy, physiotherapy, and other specialized academic programs.

Her Excellency also referred to the Ministry's efforts to integrate students with disabilities, through programs and plans that seek to provide them with the necessary skills that enable them to enter the labor market, and to represent an added value in society.

Her Excellency indicated that the Ministry of Education and Higher Education pays attention to creativity and constructive initiatives that promote self-reliance, based on the fact that education is a fundamental pillar in development. 

Her Excellency pointed out the ministry's interest in governance, digital transformation and the speed of launching e-learning, indicating in this regard that the State of Qatar was one of the first countries to invest in the technology sector since 2012.

Her Excellency touched on the challenges facing the ministry, including maintaining the quality of education, equality in education attainment, and achieving excellence through improving the work environment, stressing that the ministry is working hard to overcome these challenges.

In response to several inquiries of Their Excellencies members of the Shura Council, HE Minister of Education and Higher Education affirmed the ministry's keenness to enhance the teacher's status, and to pay attention to the comprehensive and periodic evaluation of the educational system, to ensure the quality of education and address any deficiencies if the need arises.

Her Excellency noted that during the process of reviewing, the curricula's distinctiveness and accordance to the highest levels has become clear to the ministry, indicating that the problem lay in the delivery of information and teaching and the promotion of these skills. Training teachers and enabling them to deliver information in the required manner is one of the main initiatives of the ministry, she added.

Her Excellency emphasized the Ministry of Education and Higher Education's keenness to ensure that every child is in school, noting that 70 schools have been rehabilitated to be centers for the integration of students with disabilities and the provision of specialists to identify cases that require early intervention and follow-up.

Her Excellency explained that the school calendar, which extends over 180 days, is considered normal and appropriate to access skills and information, and meets the required standards.

In her response to a question related to the decrease in the number of Qatari teachers, she pointed out that this issue is not limited to the State of Qatar, explaining that it is a problem afflicting the countries of the region and the world, as the teaching profession is not the first choice for young people for several reasons, including the nature of the work, despite the allowances and privileges for teachers in appreciation of the effort they make.

In a related context, she addressed the 'Tomouh' (Ambition) program, which adopts high school certificate holders to join the teaching profession after graduating from the College of Education at Qatar University, adding that the program succeeded in providing schools with a large number of teachers from both genders.

Commenting on the presentation, HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim stressed the need to increase the number of Qatari teachers, work to enhance the school environment, and to find appropriate solutions to overcome the difficulties that prevent this from being achieved.

His Excellency focused on the role of the family in the educational process, pointing out the importance of instilling the values of national identity in students, and focusing on private schools in this aspect.

His Excellency affirmed the council's keenness to support the ministry and provide everything necessary to achieve its lofty mission in finding high-quality education that contributes to achieving development and building the bright future of Qatar.

For their part, Their Excellencies members of the Shura Council valued the Ministry of Education and Higher Education role, affirming their keenness to support the ministry in its efforts to enhance the educational process, and focused during their interventions on developing and revising curricula, Qatarization of teaching jobs, motivating and training teachers, and educating people with disabilities.

Members of the Shura Council also emphasized the importance of drawing plans and implementing educational initiatives in line with the great significance that the country places on education, considering that it is the basis for the development of the human element, the most important tributary for achieving sustainable development, and an integral part of the Qatar National Vision.

In a related context, the members of the Shura Council noted the need to train and qualify the teachers, promote national identity, and instill Islamic values in young adults calling for expanding the supervisory role of the MOEHE over private and international schools.

During their speeches, Their Excellencies Members of the Shura Council emphasized the need to support and attract Qatari teachers, removing any obstacle that may stand in their way.

Their Excellencies stressed the importance of continuing to provide qualitative education for people with disabilities and promote their educational opportunities, integrate them, and provide them with a suitable learning environment, out of the State's care for them and its endeavor to empower them.

Following the presentations, the Council reviewed a report on its delegation's participation in the 10th meeting of the small committee emanating from the Executive Committee of the Arab Parliamentary Union, which was held in January in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The report reviewed items of the meeting that discussed issues related to the Arab parliamentary work and ways of developing it, in addition to a number of pilot projects on environmental laws, intellectual property, and cybercrime.

During the session, the Council also reviewed a report on participation in the "IRENA Legislators" forum, which was held in January in the UAE as part of the 13th session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly under the theme 'World Energy Transitions - The Global Stocktake.'

The report indicated that during the forum, the Council's delegation reviewed the State of Qatar's efforts to reduce carbon emissions by achieving Qatar national strategy for environment and climate change.