What ails Qatar’s independent schools? Parents, cigarettes and ‘swaika’
The biggest issues holding back students of independent schools in Qatar, is how they are raised at home, smoking, and even use of ‘swaika’ a popular drug, according to Hasan Al Baker, the Principal of one of the most successful independent schools in the country, Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Thani Independent Secondary School for boys.
A feature in Al-Fanar Media speaks about the rare success of a much-maligned independent school system in Qatar.
Authors of the report, Aisha Jassim and Noor Jassim Al Thani, write: “In the last academic year, more than 7,000 fourth-to-11th graders at independent schools failed their preparatory and secondary exams. And nearly 40 percent of students who sat for the second round of the Supreme Education Council’s Independent Secondary Certificate exam failed.
“These poor results have infuriated parents and students, and many Qataris’ claim that independent schools are a failure.”
Hasan Al Baker in the interview says his school’s success the last two years of ‘100 percent passing rate’ is because: “We always try to operate in a way that no other school is brave enough to try.”
The entire video and report can be read here. Below are some excerpts:
Discipline at home is an issue
Discipline according to Al Baker is the issue. “The children are creative and hardworking. Biggest problem is how they are being raised at home. If the father and mother are encouraging negative behaviour and we discipline him, then he returns home where no one evaluates his behaviour, that weakens his education.”
Which means, the school has had to take some tough decisions, and being strict about smoking and drug use is just one part of the solution.
“Once there was a problem between two students, and after 10 minutes it became 200 students,” he recounts. The school was forced to call in the police and 30 students were put in jail for two weeks.
“When they returned they were all bald (shaving a prisoners hair is protocol) and their heads were to the ground… (there is) a system and it can’t be threatened.”
However harsh that might sound, the school is very much in demand, and has a long waiting list.
“They think we are working magic, but we are just working a system that raises the performance of the students.”
Photo credit: Screen grab of the video