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Education System of Qatar

Geographic Location

Qatar is located in South west Asia, bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south, and the rest of the part by Persian Gulf. 

Understanding the Qatar Education System

The Ministry of Education and Supreme Education Council administers the education system in Qatar.  The education system of Qatar consists of 6-year elementary cycle followed by a 3-year preparatory cycle and then 3-year secondary cycle. Upon completion of secondary cycle, students can go for university studies or for labour market.
Primary/elementary school education in Qatar is compulsory for everyone and is free of charge at public schools. 

Educational Background

The first schools in Qatar were religious. Quranic schools were present in Qatar, where young boys used to learn to recite the Quran, and gain fundamental Arabic literacy skills. In 1952, the first secular elementary school for boys was started and since then the education sector in Qatar has been developed. In 1956, the first government ministry- the Ministry of Education was established.

Girls’ schools in Qatar were created in the mid-1950s, and also during the same period, secondary education started. Education system in Qatar was quite well-developed by 1980s. General academic, vocational, technical, religious training and commercial courses of study were introduced. 

In 1973, the College of Education started, which later in the year 1977, became the University of Qatar. The University of Qatar provides a wide range of programmes in varied fields. In the 21st century, the major emphasis is on enhancing the Qatari education system.  

Education Profile of Qatar

Education in Qatar is divided into two stages: basic education that encompasses preschool, primary and secondary education; and the higher education. The public school system in Qatar is of 12 years duration, consisting of 6-year elementary cycle followed by a 3-year secondary cycle and then 3-year higher cycle. The elementary and preparatory levels focus on basic numeracy and literacy skills. The secondary level of education emphasize on preparing pupils for university education, vocational or technical training, or for entering the labour market.

Basic Education

Basic education in Qatar comprises of preschool, elementary, preparatory and secondary educational levels. 

Pre-school Education

In Qatar, preschool education is operated and managed by private sector. This level of education is offered by the nurseries and kindergartens.
  • Ages: 3 to 5 

Primary/Elementary Education

Primary education in Qatar is compulsory and free of charge at public schools. Primary education in Qatar is offered by elementary schools-public and private. The public schools in Qatar follow the Qatari educational curriculum, while the private schools follow the curriculum that fulfill the needs of the expatriate communities living in the country. Students who complete this level of education are eligible to enroll in the middle/preparatory educational level. 
  • School type: Elementary School
  • Duration: 6 years
  • Ages: 6 to 12
  • Grades: 1 to 6

Preparatory Education

The preparatory schools in Qatar, whether private or state, follow a standard academic curriculum. 
  • School type: Preparatory school
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 13 to 15
  • Grades: 7 to 9

Secondary Education

Upon finishing the general preparatory education, students can attend general, technical or commercial secondary schools. Religious preparatory education in Qatar is for boys only.
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 15 to 18
  • Grades: 10 to 12
Secondary education has two streams:
  • Academic (general) stream: This stream prepares students for university education
  • Vocational/technical stream: This stream prepares pupils for employment
At the end of secondary education level, students must pass the final exam. Students who pass the exam are given the general, commercial or technical secondary education certificate, depending on the stream selected. 

Higher Education

The first university is Qatar University that offers over 60 specializations. Programmes at the undergraduate and postgraduate level are provided.

Undergraduate programmes is of 3 years duration and lead to the title of Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts.
Students who complete the undergraduate studies can go for master’s degree programme that is of 1-2 years duration. 

Public Education in Qatar

Public education in Qatar comprises of the following:
  • Secondary school of commerce: Students who have finished the preparatory stage third year are eligible for this school. The secondary school of commerce is of 3 years duration. Students who complete the course are awarded the “secondary commercial diploma”.
  • Specialized education: This education is of 6 years duration and is offered at preparatory and secondary levels. Specialized education in literary and scientific fields is offered. 
  • Scientific secondary schools: In Qatar, there are 2 scientific secondary schools- 1 for girls and 1 for boys. These schools focus on scientific studies. 
  • Literacy and adult education: In 1954, the Ministry of Education started the literacy and adult education project in order to eradicate illiteracy in Qatar. 
  • Special education: Special education is offered to physical, mental, social and emotional disable people. In Qatar, there are 2 special education institutions- Al-Amal school for girls and Al-Amal school for boys. These schools offer Islamic guidance. 
  • Qatari center for the gifted and creative: The Qatari centre for the gifted and creative was established in 2001 and this centre fulfils the educational needs of the creative and gifted pupils. 
  • Languages institute: The language institute in Qatar was opened in 1973, and it provides training to the semi-official organizations and government employees to improve their French, Arabic and English language skills. 
  • Department of training and vocational development: The vocational and training department provides training in technical specialties. 

Private Education in Qatar

In Qatar, there are many private schools and training centres that offer training in administrative, computer and secretarial skills. These centres also provide refresher courses that help the pupils to register in foreign university/institution for distance learning courses. 

University Education in Qatar

The first and the largest university in Qatar is the University of Qatar that offers a wide range of study programmes. There are several faculties at the University of Qatar, such as business and economics, education, Islamic studies and Sharia, technology, social studies and humanities, and law. 

Admission Requirements

Students must have complete secondary level of education in order to gain admittance into the university education. Students must hold a "secondary education completion certificate” for entry to university level studies. To know more about the admission requirements for university-level studies in Qatar, click here

Grading System

The most common grading scale used in Qatar is a 5-point scale, where 2 is the minimum passing grade. 

 Grading scale Grade description Equivalent US Grade
 5.00 Excellent A
 4.00-4.99 Very Good B
 3.00-3.99 Good C
 2.00-2.99 Pass D
 1.00-1.99 Fail F
 0.00-0.99 Fail F

University Level

At the University level, a 0-100-point grading scale is used.

 ScaleGradeUS Grade 
 90.00-100.00 A A
 85.00-89.99 A-minus- A-minus-
 80.00-84.99 B B
 75.00-79.99 C+ C+
 70.00-74.99 C C
 65.00-69.99 D+ D+
 60.00-64.99 D D
 0.00-59.99 F F

Academic Year

The academic year in Qatar is divided into two semesters:
  • Fall semester that commences in September and ends in January
  • Spring semester that commences in February and ends in June

Language of Instruction

The language of instruction in Qatar is Arabic, but English is also used. A wide range of programmes are offered in English. Many masters’ programmes, mainly business, engineering and natural sciences are taught in English. 

Educational Authorities in Qatar

The Ministry of Education and the Supreme Education Council manages the education system in Qatar. 

Supreme Education Council (SEC)

The Supreme Education Council (SEC) was established in 2002.The SEC manages and supervises the education system of Qatar at all levels from preschool through higher education. The council regulates the education policy and plays a vital role in the development and execution of educational reforms in Qatar. It also approves the contracts for the secondary schools in Qatar. 

Contact details:
Supreme Education Council 
P.O.Box:  35111 
Owner:  Communication & Media Office  
AlDafna Doha, Qatar 
Phone:  44044444  
Email:  info@sec.gov.qa 

The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development

The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, established in 1995, is a private, non-profit organization in Qatar that works towards making Qatar a leader in innovative research and education.
Education City in Doha is managed by the Qatar Foundation’s. This city consists of many foreign universities, Qatar Science and Technology Park, and academic and training programmes.

Contact details:
Qatar Foundation
Mail: P.O. Box 5825 Doha, Qatar
E-mail: info@qf.org.qa
Tel: 974 4454 0000
Fax: 974 4454 1047

International Students

Entry requirements: International students must have a visa for entry in Qatar. 

Language requirements: English language proficiency certificate-TOEFL/IELTS is required by most of the universities in Qatar. At some of the government universities, Arabic language proficiency certificate may be required, depending on the language of instruction of the programme chosen.

Study and living: The cost of study and living vary. 

Scholarships: The Higher Education Institute of Supreme Education Council of Qatar offers scholarships programmes for students to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the higher education institutions in Qatar and worldwide.
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