Private schools flayed over uniform issue
28 Sep 2016 - 1:51
By Mohammed Osman / The Peninsula
DOHA: Several private schools have come under fire for imposing their uniform on their Qatari students. The Childhood Cultural Center (CCC), a member of the Qatar Foundation has called on the authorities to revise the law making it mandatory on private schools to perform the Qatari national anthem on a daily basis and allowing Qatari astudents to wear their national dress in such schools.
The call came in view of the fact that about 50% of Qatari students are enrolled in private schools, mostly the international ones and a majority of these schools have not allowed their Qatari students to wear their national dress in the campus.
A recent study conducted by the Center found that 81% of the private schools have imposed their own uniform on their Qatari students along with students from other nationalities. Only 19% of these schools have allowed Qatari students to wear their national dress.
The study that surveyed 700 random samples from 20 private schools also found that only 33% of the schools perform the Qatari national anthem on a daily basis. 24 percent of the schools do not perform the national anthem while 31 percent perform it only on special occasions.
At the same time, 92% of the Qatari parents surveyed wanted the Qatari national anthem to be made mandatory in private schools and 60% wanted the national dress to be made compulsory on Qatari students in private schools. The study also found that 55% of the Qatari children do not wear their national dress daily out of the campus, while 17 % wear it once in a week and 25% wear only on special occasions. The survey covered only those schools with Qatari students on their rolls.
Emiri Decree No 1 of 2008 has made the Qatari national dress as the official uniform in all Independent schools, while allowing private schools to choose their own uniform not contravening the Qatari culture and traditions.
“As a cultural center, we are concerned about the culture and identity of our children. We believe the national dress and national anthem are the icons of this identity. The Center has noticed that some private schools prevent Qatari students from wearing their national dress and force them to use the school uniform,” a senior official of the Center told this daily yesterday.
“The law has imposed Qatari dress even on expatriate students in government schools and at the same time Qatari students are prevented from wearing their national dress in some private schools. This is a paradox,” he added.
He said many Qatari students refuse to wear their traditional dress at home and outside because they are not used to it in the campus. “The national dress is limited to some special occasions like Eid,” he lamented.
“One private school has allowed its students to come in jeens with the justification that it is similar to their uniform, while they have banned Qatari dress in the campus and punish students for not using the school uniform. Another school is using its own anthem instead of Qatar’s national anthem,” said the official.
He said of about 60,000 Qatari students in the country, over 29,000 are studying in private schools and don’t know their national anthem nor wear their national dress.
Faisal Al Marzouqi, a prominent Qatari columnist and social media activist said, “In the past only 10 to 20 percent of Qatari students were studying in private schools. Now about half of them are enrolled. It is surprising that they are only allowed to wear their national dress in the campus during special events. These schools have activities which have nothing to do with the Qatari culture and identity.”
He said all private schools must be forced to perform the national anthem daily. “These schools are getting support from the government like land and free water and electricity. They must play a role in promoting national identity,” said Al Marzouqi.