Dubai, UAE: The Ministry of Social Affairs has cancelled the licences of 12 nurseries in Dubai and the northern areas of the UAE this year for committing violations that compromised children’s safety.
Mouza Al Shoomi, Director of the Child Department at the ministry, told Gulf News on Monday that the ministry issued warnings to 25 nurseries for committing 35 violations.
The most notable violations included harming children, enrolling children above the permitted age limit and neglecting the room designated for the nurse.
Thirteen were able to rectify the violations before the 90-day deadline, while 12 did not and so their licences were cancelled.
Mouza said out of the 12 nurseries, three were shut down for good for committing violations that put children in danger.
These dangerous violations include hiring workers without a licence, operating a nursery without a manager or operating from a building that is not suitable for children.
The ministry allowed the parents of the children enrolled in the three nurseries to ask for a refund.
“In my opinion the most dangerous violation is operating from a building or a location that is not appropriate for children, for example, locations that have become industrial areas or labour housing,” she said
Mouza said the ministry tied the renewal of licence of nurseries in the UAE to inspection visits.
“Those who meet all the requirements will get immediate approval to renew their licence, while those who don’t will be given a list of the violations that must be rectified within 90 days,” said Moza.
Mouza said the ministry cancelled the licence of four nurseries for not being able to rectify their violations within the 90-day deadline.
The remaining five nurseries had their licence cancelled for mild administrate violations such as being late to register or being late to give the required documents for registration.
“These nurseries meet the standards completely but were late to register and so their licence has to be cancelled by law. We ultimately care about the children’s’ well-being so in this case we cancel the licence, then issue a new once as soon as they come with the required documents,” she said.
Mouza said the ministry has renewed licences of a total of 133 nurseries so far and is still in the process of renewing the licences of the remaining nurseries. The inspectors from the ministry’s child department have visited 157 nurseries out of 430 nurseries to make sure that they meet the standards and safety requirements set by the ministry.
Three types of visits
Mouza said the visits are divided into three categories. The first type of visits are completed before the renewal of licence and nurseries are given advance notice.
The second is a follow up to make sure the violations have been rectified. They usually take place three days after the 90-day deadline is over. If the violation is not rectified, the licence is cancelled and the nursery has to stop its operations temporarily. The third type of visit are surprise visits based on complaints by parents or issues noticed by the ministry’s inspectors.
The ministry received 24 parent complaints in the first half of this year that were mostly concentrated in Dubai and were related to refunds.
Mouza explained that the majority of nursery fees require a full payment at the beginning of the year, so when a parent wants to move their child, some nurseries do not agree to give back the remaining fees.
Six of the complaints were about cleanliness and one of the complaints was about a child falling. Mouza said the inspectors made a surprise visit to the nursery and found that it did not have any CCTV camera and their outdoor playground did not meet safety standards and so it was issued a violation.
When it comes to the opening of new nurseries, Mouza said the ministry has approved the licence of 27 private nurseries out of 85 nurseries that asked for the licence during the first part of the year. The ministry is studying the request of 58 other nurseries.
© Gulf News
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