Qatar is an oil-rich peninsula jutting out into the Persian Gulf between Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Doha is the capital city and the major administrative, commercial, and population center. With a population of 300,000, Qatar hosts large numbers
of expatriates from Pakistan, India, Iran, Europe and other Arab countries.
During the last century and a half, Qatar was once controlled by the sheikhs of Bahrain, the Ottoman Turks made incursions into Qatar, and the British have played a role in the Persian Gulf. The first emir, Muhammad ibn Thani al-Thani, was installed in
1893. In 1916, the emir agreed to allow Qatar to become a British protectorate.
Oil was discovered in the 1940s, bringing wealth to the country in the 1950s and 1960s. About 85% of Qatar's income from exports comes from oil. Its people have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. In 1971, Qatar was to join the other emirates
of the Trucial Coast to become part of the United Arab Emirates. But both Qatar and Bahrain decided against the merger and instead formed independent nations.
During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Qatar permitted the international forces to use Qatar as a base. In 1994, Qatar signed a defense pact with the U.S., becoming the third Gulf state to do so.
In June 1995, Crown Prince Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani deposed his father. The new emir lifted press censorship and instituted other liberal reforms, including democratic elections and women's suffrage (1999). In 2003 Crown Prince Jassim abdicated in favor
of his younger brother, Prince Tamin.
Qatar introduced its first constitution on June 9, 2005. It guarantees freedom of expression, assembly, and religion and calls for a 45-seat parliament. Thirty of the seats will be filled in democratic elections; the emir will appoint the remaining seats.
Sheik Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani resigned as prime minister in April 2007. The emir named former foreign minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem al Thani as his replacement.
The tentative beginnings of education in Qatar were in the first half of the twentieth century when boys and girls were taught in the traditional katateeb schools. Students were taught many subjects but without a formal system. Since those early
days, education in Qatar has made great leaps and developed into a system of education which includes the MBA degree and other postgraduate level studies. Qatar follows a policy of compulsory elementary education and continuous education where all
citizens receive free education to the extent of their abilities. English is the language of instruction in post-secondary institutions in Qatar, except in programs of religious and literary studies. English is also used in certain secondary programs.
Qatar's Ministry of Education and Higher Education oversees the country's education system.
Qatari education consists of 12 years of elementary, preparatory and secondary education (6 + 3 + 3). After six years of elementary education, students proceed to three years of preparatory education.
At the secondary level (year 10), students enter one of four three-year tracks: General secondary, technical secondary, commercial secondary or religious secondary education. All four tracks lead to the relevant secondary certificate of education.
Higher education in Qatar consists of four-year bachelor degree programs, graduate level diplomas and a two-year MBA degree. To date, no doctoral level study is offered in Qatar. English is also used in certain secondary school programs.