Ignorance is Bliss

Emigrating, or thinking about it?   Well just before you pack up your every possession and hand the house keys back to AIB, be aware of the one great freebie available in Ireland.  Education.  Please note that the definition I’m using for freebie is something that doesn’t cost more than 1% of your annual salary but adds significant benefit to your life.  Primary Education, hairdressers, good shoes, well cut timeless jeans, all freebies. 
The biggest shocks to my piggy bank on arrival is Qatar are firstly that he can no longer be known as “piggy” and secondly, the cost of education.  I’m not talking about the price of a packet of 88 page copies and a scientific calculator.  Nor am I talking about a couple of hundred Euros for school books or buying the school uniform which will be the clothes on their backs for 35 weeks of the year, no  I’m talking about having to pay for a private education because the only public schools are Arabic.  So, to afford your children the privilege of being taught in an English speaking environment the only option is to pay, so on immediate arrival in Qatar the quest for the perfect school for your cherubs should begin, as mine did. 
There are almost ten English speaking schools in Doha so I thought it was just a matter of selecting the right one and dropping them off.  Not that easy it seemed, the prices varied from QR 22,000 to QR, 53,000, maybe ignorance really was bliss.  On further research I found that one of the cheaper schools had worryingly advertised “over 70% of our teachers are fully qualified”.   So the quest continued until I found the right one, mid-priced, centrally located, good selection of extra-curricular activities and the fact that this school was started by an Irish woman was indeed the cherry on top!  With much excitement and enthusiasm we arrived into the school, cash and pencil case in hand, only to be told that there was a large waiting list. There was also an assessment test, which not alone must be passed but “should be used as an opportunity to display your child’s exceptional ability, this will help with your position on the waiting list”.  As I heard the words, my mind fondly reflected on the first school days in Ireland.  A casual word to the headmaster in the local Spar secured the place and when the first day in September came all the children arrived in similar coloured uniforms, most of the books and that warm fuzzy feeling of meeting their teacher and some new friends.  I snapped back into reality when I had to pay the application fees and the assessment fees on the spot and should I be fortunate enough, they’d take the registration fees, admission fees, tuition fees and book fees if a place became available. 
In the interim home schooling was the only option our daily routine settled into a nice pattern, breakfast, books out, Math’s first, followed by lack of co-operation, next English, followed by sulking and sighing, by History and Geography, there was a full blown row underway with door slamming, tears, “I didn’t ask to be born” the lot. The kids were as bad.  I hit the school telephone number, now on speed dial, and to my delight, places had become available. Thank god for turbulent economic times and unexpected layoffs.  
The school hours were from Sunday to Thursday from 7.25a.m. to 1.25p.m.Sunday morning came and we skipped merrily into the school.  Flinging my handbag, cash cards, credit union books and two old prize bonds across the counter, I settled the fees. Relieved of every bit of cash I had and was likely to earn over the next ten years, I completed the registration.   I said goodbye to the children and I looked forward to a coffee and croissant with my new loose noose, when the receptionist called me back, “Excuse me, would you like to take the invoice for the Summer Term now, as it is almost due”,  I felt the noose tighten

One thought on “Ignorance is Bliss

  1. Well I am disillusionned with what I’ve read.We as a family are inthe process of deciding whether or not we move to Quatar.We have been Hong Kong Expats for 10years came back to Ireland in 2007 and with kids aged 15,13 and 12 are thinking of going to Quatar (company will pay kids education),My concern was that my son aged 15 would be behind (hes doing the junior cert this year).so my question is are there any good schools there and will the gap be too great for my son to cross in terms of his continuiing education

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