Qatar Copies HISD's High School for Health Professions

HISD's DeBakey High School for the Health Professions will open a branch campus in the middle eastern country of Qatar this fall. This is happening because the Emir of Qatar regards DeBakey High as the best in the world at preparing students for medical careers. Jim Bell reports.
Qatar is a modern oil-rich Arab country on the Persian Gulf, where women have the right to vote, and where education is provided to all citizens at no cost. In an effort to improve its college preparatory system, Qatar is opening several specialty high schools built on European and American models, including the highly regarded DeBakey High School for Health Professions in Houston. Qatar's DeBakey High School will be a clone of the HISD school, complete with American teachers and leadership, including current DeBakey principal Charlesetta Deason, who will move to Qatar soon to get the new school ready to open in September. Deason confesses she was surprised to see an Arab country wanting to copy anything American.

"I was very very surprised, very surprised, and also that the curriculum will be totally in English, and yes I am surprised that they would want to replicate what we have here."

Deason says she's learned a lot about Qatar since her initial surprise. She says it's a progressive and forward looking country.

"They want the very best for their children and especially their education system. That's what it tells me about them...they want quality."

To make sure they get quality, Deason is hiring the best American teachers and administrators she can find. Qatar has teachers of its own, but they don't have American certification, so she'll bring in certified American teachers so the school can get American accreditation right away. She needs teachers in all subjects.

"I need strong math teachers, strong science teachers, because our curriculum is a science based, strong science program here in math."

Deason says Qatar is following the most basic path to success. Find out what successful people do and then do what they do. She's a little awed at the prospect of creating something completely new in a foreign culture, but she's confident. She knows that as the person Qatar is hiring to make it happen, the school's success or failure will be on her shoulders.

"The entire world will be watching, especially the Arab world, and here too, so failure will not be an option for me."

The new DeBakey High School for Health Professions at Qatar already has its own website, with all the information interested teachers need to know about applying. There's a link to it on our website KUHF dot org.

Jim Bell, KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.