School General Characteristics and Overview
Al Arqam Academy is an Islamic international school for girls, which offers an international style educational experience. The school was established in 1996 as a private school to meet the needs of Qatari and expatriate families in Qatar. In 2004, keeping pace with education reforms, the school changed to an international English curriculum, combined with progressive Arabic, Islamic Studies, Life Skills and values programs. Today, the school is a college preparatory school following the British National curriculum and teaches rich Arabic, Sharia and values curricula and extracurricular activities, serving students from Kg1 to year 12 (IGCSE and AS exams). The school is a fully recognised Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Edexcel Examination Centre. Al Arqam Academy is under the umbrella of the Supreme Education Council of State of Qatar and follows SEC standards in Arabic, Sharia and Arabic Humanities curricula. Al Arqam Academy has also been chosen last year amongst few other schools to join the Educational Vouchers System adopted by the SEC. Throughout this program, the school was able to serve more Qatari students and this year was a rewarding experience for both the school students, and their families.
Currently the school has 1375 students comprised of Muslim girls from a variety of cultural backgrounds with a majority of Qatari students (67% of Al Arqam students). School premises were originally designed to fulfill school purposes and requirements but were established in phases that were fully completed in 2010. Now, school campus consists of 3 different school buildings (KG, Primary and Secondary), equipped with safety precautions and educational facilities required for the respective schools. Facilities include Libraries, ICT Labs, interactive white boards, Cafeterias, fully equipped Science Labs, Food and Nutrition Lab, indoor playing areas, Art rooms, Life skills rooms, clinics and air conditioned classes, halls and corridors. The three schools share facilities such as the swimming pool, Theatre for holding lectures, meetings, and celebrations, PE Hall and outdoor area. Provision of these resources proved to have a great impact on students‘ learning, interest and feeling of belongingness to school community. Nevertheless, the self-study helped us evaluate how different stakeholders view school facilities and what the school can do in order to achieve our anticipated learning results in a rapidly changing world. Al Arqam promotes a safe, secure learning environment, supported by all staff, and particularly by our administrative and custodial staff.
Al Arqam Academy caters for students from KG1 up till Year 12. It consists of three schools: Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary. A number of 1375 students are studying this year at Al- Arqam; 302 students in KG, 600 in Primary and 295 students in Secondary. Although Al Arqam admits some new students every year and cannot accept many others due to limited palaces except for the early years in which new classes were opened this year, it is worth mentioning that many of Al Arqam students remain with the school for many years that some of them joined the school when the school started and complete their final pre university year at Al Arqam. These students were able to successfully cope with the changes and shifts in curriculum the school made to develop during those years.
N.B: Secondary refers to Years 7-12.
Students’ cultures and Nationalities
Al Arqam Academy represents a homogenous multicultural community with a majority of Qatari students representing 67% of the student community and a range of diversity of cultures and backgrounds for the remaining portion of that community. Our classes include students from Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Bosnia, United States, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Oman, Spain, UAE, South African, Libya, Canada, Pakistan, Sudan, Malaysia, Srilanka, France, Iran, Australia, Algeria, Portugal, Singapore and Britain. Each has different customs.
At Al Arqam Academy we manage to bring them all together byoffering various activities, such as International Day. Students are encouraged to display their nation‘s customs, traditions, traditional foods, traditional dress and fine arts. This diversity among students enriches the school community and encourages students to learn from each other, recognise the strengths of others and themselves and find out how to build good productive relationships. Moreover, sticking to school vision creates a general friendly atmosphere that brings all students to a shared framework in which all students understand the general principles and guidelines and know they all have many things in common.
Our teachers also come to us from countries all over the globe, such as the United States, Britain, Australia, South Africa, India, South African, Pakistan, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Canada and Syria. The 163 faculty members ( June, 2012-2013 records) play an important role in introducing our students to a global society as they all have different cultural backgrounds. The school makes sure that staff members especially the new staff are well introduced to the school vision and principles starting from the recruitment process, interviews and then during the induction program and cultural awareness sessions, staff handbook, meetings with school management and regular meetings and memos. Therefore, all teachers regardless their different backgrounds, play an influential role in promoting school values and ethos both inside and outside classrooms.
Teacher to student ratio
Al Arqam Academy strives to provide the right number and quality of teachers and assistants for students to meet students‘ needs and provide a supportive educational school taking into consideration the international standards.
Teacher expertise and qualification
Almost all Al Arqam teachers have bachelor degrees, 11 staff members have Masters degree and 6 others have post graduate diplomas (June, 2013 records). Senior management team members either completed or are working on completing their master degree in Educational Leadership. 63% of Al Arqam teachers have teaching qualifications while the rest have a bachelor degree close to their teaching subjects.
Regarding teaching experience, 70% of our teachers have more than 5 years of experience, among whom 10% have more than 20 years of experience.
The parental community of Al Arqam Academy is distinguished for parents‘ interest in raising up their daughters in an environment that promotes values and Qatari culture, high level of Arabic and English language abilities as well as high academic level that enables students to be competent with their peers worldwide and to be positive responsible citizens who contribute to the prosperity of their society. Most of Al Arqam community parents are educated with high level of awareness and willingness to participate in the school community in many ways including participation in activities and events, volunteer work as needed by the school and matching their specialization, attending meetings and board of trustees meetings for helping the school and giving opinion in various matters. Through surveys and meetings with parents, it is clear that parents always support their daughters academically, have high academic expectations and ambitions for their daughters‘ academic future. Generally, the largest segment of our students‘ parents work in the public sector, including ministers, Army, petrol companies and Media. Moreover, 61 parents of Al Arqam students work in the educational field. Some other parents are business men, doctors, engineers etc.