Abu Dhabi, UAE: Despite parents struggling to find admission for their children at Indian curriculum schools in the capital, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), the emirate’s education sector regulator, maintains that a number of institutions have opened up in the past year, thus increasing the number of seats available.
The upcoming closure of six Indian curriculum schools that are currently located in non-purpose built facilities, known as villa schools, is a major concern for hundreds of parents. Their children are being displaced due to Adec-mandated shutdowns, and they claim that seats at other schools are either unavailable or unaffordable.
“There are a handful of new schools, but the school fees at these are nearly triple the Dh10,000 a year that I am paying now for each of my two daughters,” Tanveer Ahmad, 37, a document controller from India, told Gulf News.
Ahmad’s daughters have been studying at Leens Private School, a villa facility with 355 pupils that is due to close.
“So, I have been making the rounds of all Indian schools in Abu Dhabi since last September (2014), trying to secure admission. It feels like a battle for my children’s education,” he added.
Since 2008, the Adec has been systematically shutting down villa schools, which numbered 72 at the time. Education officials cited health and safety concerns as a reason for systematically closing villa schools. This year marks the deadline for the closure of all villa schools, and the 14 remaining schools will therefore be closed bythe summer. Of these, six are Indian curriculum institutions that will shut down at the end of their academic year in March, the Adec told Gulf News in a statement.
When asked what measures had been taken to ensure the children’s placement in other facilities, the Adec statement said that parents whose children were enrolled in villa schools had been informed of the general closure of these facilities through a variety of communication channels since 2010.
“In the particular case of Leens Private School and Kindergarten, Adec sent an official letter to parents about the closure decision on March 27, 2014. The safety of pupils is of paramount importance to Adec, and it is a priority to make sure that they receive education in safe and healthy environments with appropriate facilities,” it added.
The Adec also said that three new Indian curriculum schools began operations during 2013-2014 and that two schools expanded their capacities.
“More will open in the coming few months to offer further seats for children,” the Adec said.
Among new Indian curriculum schools that are expected to open in April is Ryan Private School in Musaffah, offering admission to pupils enrolled up to Grade 9, and Global Indian International School.
The Adec added that it had also granted “temporary approvals” to certain schools to increase their class sizes and accommodate additional pupils, but that these capacity increases needed to remain within safe limits. Additionally, it called upon investors to develop more Indian curriculum schools.
© Gulf News
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