Abu Dhabi, UAE: A decision by the emirate’s education sector regulator has offered relief to more than a thousand parents whose children are studying at schools that will soon shut down.
The decision by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) offers registration on a priority basis at Shining Star International School to pupils of Leens Private School and Kindergarten, Al Noor Indian Islamic School and Wisdom High School. The three villa schools will shut down at the end of their 2014-2015 academic year in March 2015.
According to parents who spoke to Gulf News, they received the welcome text message from the Adec recently.
The message reads, “Registrations for April 2015 can now be accepted at Shining Star International School in Mohammad Bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi. Due to the delay in developing a new school in Al Wathba, the [Shining Star] school is currently constructing additional classrooms in Mohammad Bin Zayed City…[Leens/Al Noor/Wisdom] students will receive priority registration and discounted fees…”
“Three of my children are currently enrolled at the Al Noor Indian Islamic School, and I have been in a panic since last year. It is very hard to get admission with the limited number of Indian curriculum schools, and fees at many of the newer institutions are rather unaffordable for many middle-class families,” Aboobacker Chalil, 43, a public relations officer, told Gulf News.
“We are therefore truly grateful to the Adec authorities for facilitating this registration process. According to the message we received, our children will receive discounted fees, which is a relief as the fees that we were paying at Al Noor were much lower compared to most other Abu Dhabi schools,” Chalil added.
The three villa schools are being shut down by the Adec as part of a systematic shutdown of institutions that are housed in non-purpose-built premises. At the beginning of the drive in 2008, education officials cited health and safety concerns as the reason for the closure of the 72 villa schools operating at the time.
There are about 360 pupils enrolled at Leens, while Al Noor has 650 pupils and Wisdom High School has 400 pupils.
Sanjeev Khanna, chairperson at the Shining Star International School in Mohammad Bin Zayed City, said work is ongoing to construct about 38 additional classrooms to accept the additional pupils.
“We are already accepting these applications, and 128 children have been registered so far,” Khanna said.
The school, which opened at the start of the ongoing 2014-2015 academic year, currently has about 1,316 pupils enrolled from kindergarten to Grade 12.
“We expect the additional classrooms to be ready in time for the start of the next academic year in April 2015. Villa school pupils will be paying annual tuition fees ranging from Dh3,500 to Dh5,200, which would increase by about 20 per cent per year for the next three years,” Khanna explained.
A second branch of the school is also under construction in Al Wathba area, and Khanna said it is expected to be ready by the start of the 2016-2017 academic year. The upcoming facility will provide another 4,000 school seats.
There were 72 villa schools running in 2008, and only 14 are still open. Six of these are Indian curriculum schools that will shut down in March 2015, and the rest will close in summer 2015, the Adec confirmed in an earlier statement to Gulf News.
© Gulf News
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