Qatar to issue new rules for crèches, nurseries

February 18, 2011

Qatar’s crèches or baby care facilities and play schools or nurseries have been brought under the Ministry of Social Affairs and a law is on the anvil to monitor them closely, local media reported.

The proposed legislation is expected to specify the standards a ‘nursery’ must follow in order to get a licence to operate.

The specifications and standards expected to be soon announced by the ministry will be internationally approved.

Speakers at a seminar on the subject held at Qatar University have expressed concern over the lack of quality baby care facilities and play schools in the country and complained that the staff lacked proper training and skills to handle young children, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported.

The State Cabinet last year issued a decision paving the way for framing a law that would lay specifications and standards for ‘nurseries’ and ensure their close monitoring.

The nurseries were earlier being monitored by the Ministry of Education and later by the Supreme Education Council (SEC), but are now under the social affairs ministry.

Taking advantage of exploding population and the fact that an increasing number of married women — both nationals and expatriates — now preferring to work,

Crèches and play schools have mushroomed in Qatar recently amid growing numbers of young people and a higher figure of women opting to take up jobs.

Several working couples who cannot afford or prefer not to hire baby sitters send their children to crèches.

However, the smaller crèches charge up to QR500 a month and are pathetic, being run mostly by semi-literate Asian housewives, community sources say.

Bigger nurseries apply charges starting from QR2,000 and can reach QR3,800, the Qatari daily said.

The prestigious ones reportedly have long waiting lists despite their prohibitive charges.

“What we need is medium-class nurseries which are licensed and have adequate baby care facilities and whose charges are between QR1,000 and QR1,500 so that middle-income couples can easily afford to entrust their small children with them,” an Asian expatriate was quoted as saying.

Several working couples who leave their babies at nurseries complain that since working shifts in the private sector here are split between morning and evening, there are hardly any nurseries that are open after 8pm.

“I am looking for a baby sitter because I cannot leave my four-month-old child at a nursery. My husband and I leave office at 8pm but the nursery closes at 6pm, so where to leave our child in between,” a working mother said.

Another complaint was the lack of quality nurseries closer to homes.

“There aren’t enough nurseries in the city, so we have to drive long distances to leave our children,” an Arab expatriate said.

Under the new rules, nurseries applying for licensing must have enough and quality space with kitchen and medical facilities.

Nurseries must be located in residential areas and have large rooms, adequate fire protection and play facilities with trained staff. Every child in its care must be allowed at least two square meters of space.

A nanny must take care of four children aged between two months and a year or ten children aged above one year.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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