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Parents accuse school of daylight robbery

Parents allege that The Philippine School is selling overpriced textbooks and notebooks

  • By Jay B. Hilotin, Chief Reporter
  • Published: 21:30 September 26, 2012
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit: Xpress
  • Jocelyn Sollano: The TPS principal, with the school textbooks - the parents are not reading from the same page as her

DUBAI Parents are accusing a Dubai Filipino community school of daylight robbery for selling overpriced textbooks and notebooks.

“We feel ripped off having to pay double for textbooks and triple for notebooks,” Mel, a parent of a student at The Philippine School-Dubai (TPS), told XPRESS. “The school is unreasonably charging a premium for textbooks.”

Mel cited, for example, that a grade school mathematics textbook that costs only 595 pesos (about Dh55) in Recto (Manila) costs Dh120 from TPS.

“I don’t mind paying because our child’s education is important, but not to this extent,” said Imee, another parent, who asked not to give her full name for fear of retaliation from the school. A parent has complained to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) about the issue. The five-year-old TPS follows the Philippine curriculum and has about 1,800 students.

KHDA ranked TPS as “acceptable” in the latest schools assessment and had earlier ruled that parents were free to procure their books and uniforms from anyone in the market.

Irene, mother of a middle grader, paid Dh1,600 for the textbook set earlier this month. “The school forced us to just bite the bullet,” she said, adding the textbook cost had risen from Dh1,400 last year to Dh1,600 this year.

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Maria, another parent, said that the school sells nine TPS-branded notebooks for Dh260, or Dh28 apiece, while other schools offer notebooks for just between Dh5 to Dh10. By comparison, a set of 13 textbooks in a CBSE-curriculum Indian school in Dubai costs about Dh540 for Grade 7, including the school-branded notebooks.

Other parents complained TPS released the textbook list too late, denying the parents the chance to buy from more affordable sources before the school opening in early September.

Most parents, however, said they are happy with the school’s teaching competence and also with the fee structure.

A senior TPS official said the school procures textbooks from four Manila-based publishers.

A copy of Noli Me Tangere (“Touch Me Not”), an anti-colonial 19th century novel and required reading in Filipino subject (with a CD), costs over Dh120 from the school while the same pack costs less than 700 pesos (Dh63) in the Philippines.

TPS Managing Directress Letty Maniaul said they don’t force the parents to buy textbooks from them. “The peso’s continuous rise against the dollar (dirham is pegged to the US dollar) and the high handling costs means our situation will be different from other schools.”

She said they also offer deferred payment to parents who cannot pay in one go.

Jocelyn Sollano, TPS principal, said the list was delayed this year because they waited for the latest edition from the presses and because of the K-12 curriculum changes in the Philippines.

“The availability of new textbooks on school opening is a top priority for us and we brought the required number to cover all our students by air. We’re just sharing the burden with the parents,” she said.

Comments (17)

Your Comments
  1. Added 13:29 September 27, 2012

    This is an eye-opener for the Filipino community.

    Sheila, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:17 September 27, 2012

    THIS IS NOT THE ONLY SCHOOL WHO OVER CHARGE FOR BOOKS, UNIFORMS. ONE OF THE PROMINENT SCHOOLS IN ABU DHABI BELONGING TO A FAMOUS GROUP CHARGE EXORBITENT PRICES FOR SCHOOL UNIFORMS, TRANSPORT AND BOOKS. THERE IS NO ONE TO CHECK THIS. EVERYTHING IS DONE IN THE NAME OF 'OUTSOURCING'.

    Ronald Nair, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 13:00 September 27, 2012

    THE BUS FARE IS ALSO SAME. THE SCHOOLS SUB LEASE THE SERVICE AND THEY CHARGE MORE. IF THIS TYPE OF SERVICE WAS PROVIIDED BY THE RTA, IT WOULD BE GOOD AND ECONOMIC. THE GOVERNMENT TOO WILL PROFIT. THE PUPLIC TOO WILL BE HAPPY. I HOPE THE RTA CONSIDERS THESE POINTS.

    krish, dubai, India

  4. Added 12:49 September 27, 2012

    The educational authorities must take severe action aginst the school and not only this school but also various Indian schools that charge the same amount or more for text books , etc. I hope authorities take action agaisnt such schools and check and visit the school periodically.

    krish, dubai, India

  5. Added 10:36 September 27, 2012

    I share the sentiments with all the expact parents in this part of the world. Education for our kids is not cheap anymore. The scenario in Dubai-based foriegn schools will turn for the worse if the higher authorities in the education wing does not intervene to defuse this escalating cost crisis.

    Mute Witness, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 10:15 September 27, 2012

    This is sad but true!!! A close friend of mine bought the books from the Philippines, couriered the books to Dubai and still saved AED2,000 for Grade 7 and Grade 3 students. When you call them asking for the list of books prior to the opening of classes, they tell you that the Principal is still on vacation and only the principal has the list of books!!! What if something happens to the principal, then my son won't have any text books??? Pathetic... I'm thinking of moving my son to another school next year...

    JP, DUbai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 09:59 September 27, 2012

    There are no deferred payments offered. They asked for one time payment only. And the latest reason for the delay is NOT TRUE! The books are ready in the Philippines since April-May because the books are also used in the Philippines where the school year begins in June. They just held the list because they wanted us to procure it from them. The set of books in the Phils costs only around 500 AED, but they are selling it in around 1,600-1,900 AED! If you don't pay for the books, they will punish you with the notebooks which costs a whooping 260 AED per set! THIS IS REALLY ROBBERY! KHDA should take action!

    Parent of TPS student, Dxb, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 09:26 September 27, 2012

    Very true. One more thing -- there's another notebook in makabayan that costs 120 dirhams. That too much for minor subjects like music, arts, p.e., hele, computer and character educ. We can use an old notebook for that subj. Another thing we can buy arabic books outside the school for only 50aed but the school sells it for 150aed.

    Ma.antonette g. Marquez, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 09:24 September 27, 2012

    In addition to this, why do we need to buy the MAKABAYAN NOTEBOOK which is 120 dirhams when we can use the ordinary notebook instead. And also the ARABIC BOOK which is 150 dirhams while you can buy it at Dubai Library for only 50 dirhams.

    Emy, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 08:44 September 27, 2012

    If they are waiting for the latest list of new edition of books, how come that the books which was released for school year 2012 - 2013 are the same books used last year?

    EJE, Dubai, Philippines

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