Rapid increase in number of students necessitates expansion of university facilities
Qatar University has announced a $961.3 million expansion project to address increasing pressure on its existing facilities, thanks to a rapid jump in admissions.
During the current academic year, the university received 5,000 new students, taking the total number to 13,000, which it said was an all-time high. As a result, classrooms and laboratories are facing a space crunch due to the high student intake, the chairperson of the university said.
“The increase in students is really huge and unprecedented. For the university, it is a great achievement to accommodate such huge numbers in one semester. This is the right time to appreciate the hard work of our team,” QU chairperson Dr Sheikha bint Abdullah Al Misnad said in an interview with Al Sharq, a local newspaper.
“We have adjusted the laboratory timings to accommodate more students. All premises of the university including the library have been used as classrooms. Still there is a continuing pressure on the existing facilities.”
The space crunch would be addressed through the expansion project, she added.
The expansion will include a new research centre complex that will be opened this month. The 21,500sqm facility will bring all the research activities under one roof, with six main units and 47 specialised laboratories.
Various colleges, including engineering, pharmacy, law and education, will be expanded with more facilities, Al Misnad said. Furthermore, a new building for student services will be built.
“All the new buildings will have an environment-friendly design, which will also be a combination of traditional and modern architecture,” said Al Misnad.
The project also includes construction of a multi-storey parking facility with a capacity for 1,600 cars.
There is a plan for a new staff accommodation and shopping centre inside the campus. New student hostels will be ready in the south west side of the campus by the fourth quarter of next year. A new stadium with 43,520 seats will be constructed at the university premises for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
The university will also have a big metro station close to the stadium as part of the Doha metro project.
The university is also facing a shortage of teaching staff and it is trying to address the problem by hiring more teachers and visiting professors. This may have a negative impact on the Qatarisation policy in the short term. In the long term, the university is trying to address this issue by preparing qualified Qatari cadres through scholarships and higher education and training programmes, said Al Misnad.
She said the ambitious expansion project is aimed at meeting the growing demand from different sectors of the Qatari economy and the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030.