Dubai, UAE: Legally binding contracts between schools and parents have been introduced at all of Dubai’s private schools for the coming academic year.
The contracts state the responsibilities of both parties and include clauses for fees, extra-curricular charges, attendance, dispute resolution and bullying. They must be signed before pupils can be enrolled.
They were brought in to 58 schools in 2013 as a pilot programme by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.
“When schools and parents have a positive relationship, students benefit,” said Amal Belhasa, chief of compliance at the KHDA.
“We’ve already seen improved communication and fewer disputes between schools and parents. We ask all parents to read and sign the contract.”
Parents have cautiously welcomed the news.
“In theory it is a good idea but I haven’t been told anything about these contracts or the details in them,” said Razia Sultan from Pakistan.
“Transparency is very important and anything that helps with that, I fully support,” said Ms Sultan, whose 12-year-old son attends Gems Westminster School. “If they make clear what the responsibilities are for schools and parents then that is a good thing.”
The contracts also detail teaching days and holidays, and a breakdown of all costs payable by parents.
“This is the first I’ve heard of these contracts but I really hope they can make it clear from the start what the fees are so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises,” said Maria Gutierrez, from the Philippines, who has a 14-year-old son, also at Gems Westminster.
The contracts were developed with the help of parents and schools, the KHDA said.
They state that schools cannot require extra fees from parents during the academic year.
But if parents repeatedly fail to pay the required fees on time, a school may refuse to accept their child for the next academic year and withhold their progress report.
The contract also covers online and other forms of bullying, and warns both parents and pupils to avoid any form of defamation or intentional harm on social media.
© The National
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