Education System in Qatar: CBSE | AISSE | AISSCE

  • ACIO
  • November 24, 2023
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Qatar is one of the smallest states in the Gulf region. Still, it possesses a unique position in the world due to its oil and natural gas reserves and upgrading education system. Education was mentioned as a critical component in the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011–2016. Furthermore, the Qatar National Vision 2030 establishes various educational goals for the country. Qatar’s government is pushing education to strengthen its national identity, instil morals and social values in its citizens, and diversify its economy.

A Brief History of Education System in Qatar

Prior to the 20th century, Qatar had no formal education system. Only Islamic schools were dedicated to teaching the holy book Quran, while some even taught reading, writing, and arithmetic in addition to the Quran. The country’s first formal school, ‘Islah al-Mohammadiyeh’, was established in 1949 by the emir of Qatar in Doha and taught a wide range of topics, including English, Arithmetic, Geography, Grammar, and Religious education. Subsequently, the first formal girls’ school was established in 1955 in Doha.

The Ministry of Education was established in 1956, marking the start of various national educational projects and formal schooling in Qatar. That year, 17 elementary schools were built, with 1,333 children and 80 teachers. Girls’ schools were included in the national educational curriculum in 1957. Two girls’ schools with 451 students and 14 female teachers were established that year.

Due to concerns about the quality of the previous system, Qatar recruited the RAND Corporation (a US-based, non-profit organisation) to examine and restructure its K-12 education system in 2001. RAND also presented the Qatari government with several recommendations for system change, focusing on enhancing curricula.

The Supreme Education Council created the Education for a New Era (EFNE) project in 2001 in response to the RAND report and implemented comprehensive policy reforms. One of the EFNE’s main goals was to adopt a Western education system for its preschool program. The Supreme Education Council (SEC) enhanced Arabic, mathematics, and science standards for all grades in 2005. Following then, a slew of new public schools popped up. In 2004, 12 independent schools opened, followed by 21 in 2005 and 13 more in 2006.

Qatar’s Current Education System

  • At all levels, the Supreme Education Council (SEC) and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE) work together to manage and control Qatar’s education system.
  • In general, Qatar’s education system is divided between public or independent and private schools. All the independent schools are supervised by SEC.
  • The private schools are supervised by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and include International Schools that offer great diversity of curricula.
  • There are approximately 338 International Schools in Qatar, majorly catering to expatriate students from the US, UK, India, and Pakistan, and following different curricula (e.g., American, British, International Baccalaureate, and Indian – CBSE curriculum Qatar).
  • Furthermore, for schools, the Qatar education system is divided into preschool, primary, preparatory and secondary education.
Stage Grade Years Duration
Primary/ Elementary Education 1st – 6th 6 to 12 years old 6 Years
Preparatory Education 7th – 9th 12 to 15 years old 3 Years
Secondary Education 10th -12th 15 to 18 years old 3 Years
  • Pre-school is not obligatory and is mainly operated by the non-governmental sector. Depending on your needs, there are many options for nurseries (for children aged 0-3) and kindergarten or preschool (for children aged 3-5).
  • In Qatar, education is completely free in public schools and compulsory till primary/ elementary level for students aged 6-12 years.
  • Most public schools are gender-segregated, cater to usually Qatari students, and follow the universal Arabic curriculum with English, Maths, Science, and Islamic studies as mandatory courses.
  • Some private schools in Qatar follow the Arabic curriculum, similar to independent schools, while others are international schools that follow diverse curricula and cater to expatriates only.
  • Students in secondary school can attend public schools that provide a broad education or specialised schools that offer various options customised to the student’s academic priorities and interests, such as science & technology, business administration, banking, etc. However, secondary education is not mandatory in Qatar.

Post-Secondary or Higher Education System in Qatar

In 1973, the country’s first university – Qatar university, was established. Currently, the university is catering to more than 8000 students. Higher education in Qatar can be attained at many levels in various fields, offered by state institutes and private universities.

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CBSE Qatar

CBSE stands for Central Board of Secondary Education- is the front-runner education board established & run by the Government of India. It is the most preferred curriculum for Indian expatriates in Qatar.

Just like in India, CBSE is responsible for conducting two board examinations every year for grades 10th & 12th in addition to prescribing exam conditions, patterns, duration and issuing qualifying certificates to all the qualified candidates via schools in Qatar as well.

The two examinations conducted by CBSE Qatar are AISSE (All India Secondary School Examination) for grade 10th & AISSCE (All India Senior School Certificate Examination) for grade 12th.

As a part of CBSE’s recently-introduced Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) program, the board administers the AISSE during March and April.


The AISSE School Completion Certificate, Marksheet, and Migration Certificate are given to successful candidates to continue their future education.

The exams cover five subjects, including English, a Language (Native or Foreign), Sciences, Mathematics, and Social Sciences, each contributing 100 marks, totalling 500 marks. The score helps students determine their stream – Science, Commerce, or Arts/ Humanities.


The All India Senior School Certificate Examination is a higher qualification exam pursued by CBSE students. AISSCE scores are accessed by Universities while deciding whether or not to admit students to various degree programs.

CBSE syllabus Qatar

All the CBSE-affiliated schools in Qatar are instructed to follow the prescribed NCERT syllabus.

CBSE Qatar students are eligible to appear for various national and international Olympiads, and Science stream students are eligible for competitive exams like IIT-JEE (Mains + Advanced) & NEET-UG. Upon successful qualification, based on their marks & cut-offs, they can pursue higher studies in reputed institutes, universities, and colleges of their choice across India and abroad. Both NEET and JEE exams have examination centres in Qatar for students to take exams near their homes.

The education system in Qatar indicates the popularity of the CBSE-based Indian curriculum. If you are an NRI student residing in Qatar and preparing for various competitive exams like IIT-JEE, NEET-UG, and Olympiads, then ALLEN Overseas is the leading coaching institute that provides 360-degree academic support to help you achieve your dream success. With our interactive hybrid classroom program, you can start your academic journey towards excellence under the mentorship of the most-skilled edu-experts of ALLEN Overseas. For any queries, comments, or doubts, get in touch with us, and we’ll gladly assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What percentage of Qatar’s population is educated?

A: Last measured, Qatar’s literacy rate was 97.8%.

Q: What are the school timings in Qatar?

A: School timings vary depending on the school, curriculum and grade, but the general timings are between 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Sunday to Thursday.

Q: How long is the summer break in Qatar?

A: Most schools in Qatar offer around eight weeks of summer holidays from early June to late August.

Q: Are phones allowed in Qatar’s schools?

A: No, mobile phone usage is strictly prohibited in Qatar schools.

Q: Are the board exam paper is same for Indian and NRI students residing in Qatar?

A: No, though the paper pattern, marking scheme, exam syllabus and difficulty level is same, CBSE provides a different set of question papers for NRI/ Overseas students.

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