Ethiopian Community International School (ECIS) in Al Sheehaniya is a beacon of hope for the expatriate families from different African countries as they have been struggling to find a suitable and affordable school for their kids in Qatar.
The institution was inaugurated recently by Qatar's Minister of Education and Higher Education, HE Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi.
The school was granted by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the Ethiopian community during the official visit of the then Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to Doha in 2017.
The Ethiopian expatriate community has eagerly been waiting for the start of the school since it was announced three years ago. Samia Zekaria, ambassador of Ethiopia to Qatar, said: “The community has been eager and anxious. They have actually been pushing us to start it sooner than later even if we did not have enough chairs and other stuff.”
The school will work under the umbrella of the Embassy of Ethiopia in Qatar. The school started its teaching and learning process last September enrolling students for the classes from KG to Grade-2. The ambassador said: “We have plans to expand this facility. The initial license is for a primary school. We are just starting and will build it up gradually.”
Ambassador Samia underlined that the school is going to offer less expensive education for the expatriate children. “Most of the schools in Qatar are expensive for expatriates from Ethiopia. Many of them have not been able to send their children to schools. Instead the parents have been sending their kids back to Ethiopia for schooling. Now, they have an affordable school and can stay here. They have got the chance to study Ethiopian curriculum. The students from this school will be able to go back to their country and start university education there in future.”
Abdul Basit Jamal, ECIS principal, is an experienced teacher and administrator. He has worked as a school teacher and then principal for about 15 years. He has worked in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia. Talking to Gulf Times about the facility, the principal said that the school would make the familial life easier for the Ethiopians in Qatar.
Sharing details about the school, Abdul Basit said: “We have 35 kids to start with. We are offering classes from KG to Grade-2. The school has the capacity to hold classes up to Grade-8. We can accommodate as many as 450 students without any expansion. The area is more than 15,000 square metres. We can offer the Ethiopian curriculum up to Grade-8. I hope we will soon start upgradation of the school.”
The principal said students of all nationalities are welcome to the school “We will welcome anyone who is willing to study our curriculum. Even currently we have students from five nationalities other than Ethiopians. There are students from Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Eritrea. Everyone is welcome here.”
In response to a question about the school being situated away from Doha, the principal said: “It is not much far. It is situated on the main highway. There are no traffic signals. It will not take much time to reach the school. We have a bus for the students. Most of the kids are dropped by their parents. They are happy to have the school even though they are coming from Doha.”
In response to a question regarding the presence of diverse schools in Qatar, Abdul Basit said: “The education has fast been becoming a universal thing. The Ethiopian curriculum is strong enough to create fruitful citizens. We have a good facility and anyone willing can come and join us as a student for a better future. We will focus on following the universal goals as a school. No children should sit at home. School education is the right of every child. We are giving an opportunity to the Ethiopians here. They do not have to keep their children at home. Their kids will get education studying elite courses with very low coast. We are not a profitable organisation.”