UAE | Education

Education blues: School 'rebranding' dispute

Global Indian International School to become Ambassador Education from 2013 as hundreds of students caught in bitter row between franchiser and franchisee

  • By Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 April 19, 2012
  • XPRESS

Dubai: A bitter row between an expensive Indian school in Dubai and a Singapore-based education group has cast a shadow on the future of hundreds of students and left their parents bewildered.

The dispute began this week after Scoreplus, the Dubai franchisee of the Global Indian International School (GIIS) in Mankhool area from Singapore-based franchiser Global Schools Foundation (GSF), told parents on April 12 that the school will be rebranded as Ambassador Education from the next academic year.

The school's kindergarten section has already been renamed Ambassador Kindergarten. The students will attend a nearby facility from next week onwards.

Scoreplus CEO Kamal Kalwani told XPRESS that the school was ‘rebranding' after his company rejected a takeover bid for GIIS Dubai by GSF. He added that the school will be retained under the Scoreplus management.

Kalwani said Scoreplus had sent a termination notice to GSF to end the franchise on March 31, 2013.

However, in a statement to XPRESS, GSF rubbished Kalwani's allegations, saying it had made "no binding offer" to buy the school.

The statement added that GSF was in the process of sending a termination letter to the franchisee (Scoreplus) but the franchisee pre-empted the move.

GSF said it wanted to cut ties over the franchisee's "failed attempts to procure couple of school lands from the regulators in Dubai and Abu Dhabi without the knowledge and official consent of the Singapore foundation".

GSF said in a letter to parents on Monday: "In case you are denied access to GIIS Kindergarten, you are requested to bring the matter to the notice of the KHDA (The Knowledge and Human Development Authority) [Dubai's education regulator], which is monitoring the situation."

GIIS said they expect to open a school in Dubai by April 2014.

Scoreplus has fiercely rejected GSF's claims of any wrongdoing.

School principal Winston Gomez wrote to parents on Tuesday saying they would ask the KHDA to step in. He said they are also considering "separate action" against the franchiser (GSF).

Some parents, meanwhile, told XPRESS they would pull their children out of the school. "I don't know what will happen to the school standards," one parent said. "A lot of parents chose the school because of the GIIS brand — that's not there any more. I've tried to get answers from the foundation [GSF] about how they will supervise quality at the school until next year, but no one has got back to me with a proper response. And what's ‘Ambassador Education' anyway? No one has heard about it till now."

Leena, mother of a fourth-grader, said: "My daughter is happy so I'm happy. As long as the faculty doesn't change, it's fine. I'm only worried about a fee increase after the change next year. As far as the GIIS brand is concerned, they never really played a role."

Kalwani downplayed concerns regarding the school. "Things will only get better. A brand can only get your foot in the door; the only thing that matters to parents in this industry is quality," he said.

Last November, around 1,000 students of Rajagiri International School in Al Warqa were also caught in a similar situation following a takeover tussle that went horribly wrong and led to police intervention.

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