Public Education in Qatar 1950-1970

Interview on Education and Transportation in Early Doha
April 8, 2019
Early School Days
April 19, 2018

Public Education in Qatar 1950-1970

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Interviewee: Hamad Hamdan AlMuhannadi

My name is Hamad Hamdan AlMuhannadi. I’m from Al-Khor, it’s a fisherman town north of Doha. I was raised up in a house, my father and all my family they are fishermen.  I remember going to the sea and fish, since I was so young, probably 4 or 5 years. I was born in 1956. Then I started school when I was six years; I went to AlKhor school.

Where did you go to high school?

Interviewee: I have to mention that after we finished elementary school, there’s no secondary school, most of the students go to a dormitory in Doha, and they used to go to schools in Doha. I spent one year almost in Doha dormitory, and then they transferred us back to AlKhor. Our high school also started in AlKhor, it’s called Al-Khor High School, I remember we had one class; we were about 15 students, students from AlKhor and the surrounding areas like AlThakira and Simaisma, in my first year of high school, we had a lot of friends that dropped out of high school because they had good chances to work in Museieed, but we stuck to school. The next year we split because some of them wanted to study science to major in engineering or any science major. Our group was the first group from AlKhor to study in high school at that time, then a lot of students joined and the classes become larger, since we had small class sizes of 10-12 usually, which gave us a good opportunity for studying.

Who was your favorite teacher?

Interviewee: I remember this teacher, his name is Yousef, he was teaching us Physics, we liked this teacher cause he was treating us like his brothers, we felt very close to him, we used to visit him after school. He always asked to come to his place if we needed any help. So he usually put us in his hands, so it was easy for us to talk to him. Sometimes teachers would use a harsh way of teaching if we didn’t like a teacher’s way of teaching then we wouldn’t like him, but we’d have to accept him, we have no choice to fire him. But this teacher Yousef we always remember him when he taught us physics. I think one of my friends he went to Jordan and met him, and we still always have good memories of him.

Tell us about your school cafeteria

Interviewee: If you are talking about a cafeteria as you visualize it now, then we didn’t have a cafeteria. We used to have something called “Maqsaf”,  it’s a kind of a portable cabin (portacabin) , and there’s an Indian guy, he used to sell Pepsi-Cola and all these soft drinks, also sandwiches, “Keema” sandwich, “Chapati”, So it’s not really a cafeteria, so basically, you had to go get your sandwich, and there are no chairs, nothing, this portacabin wasn’t covered, it was outside the building but within the school, so you just take your sandwich and eat it, and that’s it. So we didn’t have a cafeteria as it is now in school.

Did you ever sneak out from school?

Interviewee: Personally I’m a quiet student; I didn’t get into any trouble with the teachers, even with other students. But sometimes I participate in this kind of problems because all the teachers, they think I’m a quiet person, so they won’t even think I’ll do this kind of problems, so I always get out of any problems in school. I don’t remember getting into any fights with students in high school. Personally, I’m so quiet, till now.

Was learning English hard for you?

Interviewee: We started taking English classes in 6th Grade, and when I reached high school, my English at that time, compared to my friends, it was good. I never had any trouble to communicate with people, or for exams. Sure the English language is different now from what it was in those days, but it was still better than my friends.

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