Education System in Qatar

Education System in Qatar
The tentative beginnings of education in Qatar were in the first half of the twentieth century when boys and girls were taught in the traditional ‘katateeb’ schools. They were taught many subjects but without a formal system.


Since those early days, education in Qatar has made great leaps and developed into a system of education reaching all the way to highest stages.

Qatar follows a policy of compulsory and continuous education where all citizens receive free schooling reflecting the country’s identity and providing equal opportunities to all.


In 1985, the literacy rate in Qatar was estimated to be about 74%. By 2000 the literacy rate had reached an estimated 81%.

Elimination of Illiteracy

The first centre for adult education and the elimination of illiteracy was established in 1954. Regular classes were started in 1956 when there were seven schools with 614 students. Two ladies centres were opened in 1976.

Illiterate students were given four years of elementary schooling after which they were granted their literacy certificates. In the past such students were also given incentive allowances of QR150 per month.

The Ministry of Education and Culture takes care to ensure the subjects studied are appropriate to the emotional needs of the students and that those given to female students are directly relevant to women’s needs.

Latest statistics indicate that illiteracy in Qatar has declined in recent years. Statistics for 1997 show that illiteracy for Qataris over 10 years old is 13.6%, 8.6% for males and 18.4% for females.

Education System

Qatar follows a policy of compulsory education until the end of the elementary stage and free education to all citizens. Basic education consists of the following stages,

Elementary Stage:Six years

Preparatory Stage: Three years

Secondary Stage: Three years

The country has 113 elementary schools; 60 for boys and 53 for girls, 56 preparatory schools; 28 for boys and 28 for girls, and 41 secondary schools; 19 for boys and 22 for girls.

Government schools provide free education for the children of non-Qatari residents who work for the public sector.

Qatar also has private schools as well as schools for the different Arab communities like the Lebanese, Jordanian and Sudanese schools plus those for non-Arab communities like the Indian, American and other schools.


The curricula of the Primary and intermediate cycles emphasise basic literacy and numeracy skills. The Secondary cycle focuses on preparing students for University, technical or vocational training, or for joining the workforce directly.

Higher Education

University education in Qatar started in the seventies when two colleges of education, one for male and one for female students, were established in 1973.

The Qatar Foundation was established in 1995 by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. His wife, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, is the organization’s chairperson and driving force.

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development aims to support Qatar on its journey to a knowledge economy by unlocking human potential.