With the announcement of the establishment of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) by Emiri decree No. 37, November 2002, in its capacity as the higher authority which directs and develops the nation’s education policy and strategy and supervises its implementation. In 2004, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the government launched the education development initiative in Qatar under the slogan "education for a new era to cope with the country's comprehensive and sustained development. The initiative aims at sustainable, Qatari-driven change that models and instills the highest civic ideals of cooperation, reciprocal respect, and popular participation. The government envisioned an education system that Makes classrooms exciting places to learn, encourages all students to make the most of their talents, holds schools measurably accountable to high performance standards, involves and is responsible to parents, graduates young men and women who are in demand with universities and businesses at home and abroad and nourishes faith, values, and national aspirations. The centerpiece of the reform would be new government-funded Independent Schools. These schools, run by operators under contract to the Supreme Education Council, would determine their own teaching philosophy and methods – and hire their own staff, as long as the schools meet rigorous curriculum standards in Arabic, English, mathematics, and science.