2015-03-09 10:32:54

Qatar provides different types of child care services for working foreigners, namely pre-primary schools, nannies and au-pairs.

If you are moving to Qatar with family, you will probably need a babysitting service during your working hours.

Child care will be one of your priorities if you are considering moving to Qatar. In fact, you may choose from a variety of child care services once you have settled there. Hence, you will not have to worry about them during your working hours. You can either hire a nanny or an “au pair”, or register them with a nursery or kindergarten according to their age. Feel free to request your sponsor or employer's assistance in this process. Moreover, make sure to inquire on the Qatari education system so as to determine what will best suit your child's needs.

Education system

Qatar's education system is controlled by the Supreme Education Council. Education is free of charge at all levels, that is from the nursery to secondary's final year. You will find not only public schools, that is government-funded schools, but also private schools, including international schools. Note that most expatriate children attend international schools as subjects are taught in Arabic in public schools.

 Good to know:

In general, pre-primary schools in Qatar welcome children from the age of three until they are six. In fact, they join primary school the year they turn six and for a six years period.

Note moreover that private schools are quite expensive and can be a considerable expense for expatriates parents.

Pre-primary schools

You are more likely to find private pre-primary schools in Doha, the capital city. However, these operate under aegis of the Ministry of Social Affairs, especially in terms of staff recruitment and regulations. Small nursery and day care schools which do not have qualified staff and necessary facilities are not taken into account by the system.

Many kindergartens and nurseries teach in English. Some of these hosts at least three months old children while others prefer to take more than 12 months old children, whether on a full-time or part-time basis.

Monthly fees and the schooling schedule vary from one school to another. Thus, you may need an average of 500 Qatari riyals per week for full-time schooling. You should also consider additional costs such as registration fees, the purchase of uniforms and school materials, transportation, etc.

 Good to know:

Some pre-primary schools are affiliated to primary schools. Thus, children will be primarily considered during primary school registration exercises.

 Good to know:

It can be very difficult to enroll your child in a popular school. Hence, you will be queued on a long waiting list. This is why many parents enroll their child even before the latter's birth.


In some cases, your employer or sponsor can help you with registration formalities, particularly when it comes to international schools. As mentioned earlier, it is better to enroll your child in advance so as to secure a seat for the following year. Registration applications are generally received in January while classes start in September. In the case of newcomers, children are often registered in the middle of the school year, but this greatly depends on the availability of seats.

Documents to be produced during registration are the following: your passport and visa, as well as those of your child, your child's birth certificate. Fees applied vary from one school to another. In some cases, a non-refundable advance may be requested. Once the application has been received, you may be summoned for a small interview with the school officials.

Nannies and "au-pairs"

Many expatriate families in Qatar rely on nannies to take care of their young children. You can choose between an "au-pair" and a babysitter. In the case of an "au-pair", you will have to obtain your employer or sponsor's approval. As regards the "au-pair", the latter will also need a residence permit and have to pass related medical examinations. Once these procedures have been completed, you are required to provide the "au-pair" with accommodation and a salary along with some benefits. However, bear in mind that the "au-pairs" are not qualified early childhood professionals.

 Good to know:

Only head of families are allowed to hire "au-pairs" in Qatar.

In short, you can find "au-pair" on the Internet or through specialized international agencies. As regards babysitters, word-of-mouth will be your best tool.

 Useful links:

Supreme Education Council www.sec.gov.qa
List of private international schools in Qatar www.sec.gov.qa/En/ServicesCenter
Doha Mums www.dohamums.com

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