UAE | Education

Parents in last-ditch attempt to save school

Parents take petition to higher authorities as final resort to prevent the school from closing

  • By Noor Nazzal Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 21:50 January 2, 2013
  • Gulf News

Dubai: Parents of students affected by the possible closure of the Westminster School (TWS) have presented a petition and survey findings as a final resort to prevent the school from closing.

The survey/petition that was signed by around 2,000 parents found that the majority agreed to a fee increase if it meant saving the school, given that it was within a 10 to 20 per cent increase, which refuted claims in a report that the parents were willing to pay double.

The parents said they also took the petition to the ruler’s court after getting no feedback from Gems Education, the group that owns the school and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) which is the regulatory authority.

Parents took action after receiving a Gems Education announcement in an email stating it would close TWS in Dubai due to KHDA rules that prevented the school from increasing fees and obtaining the improvements needed.

In an attempt to change the school’s fate the parents board organised a survey petition to determine a fee increase accepted by the majority of the parents.

“Gems claim that they have received many calls by parents indicating that they will pay double. These are one-sided views while we have around 2,000 hand written signatures that indicate we will only accept a 10 to 20 per cent increase,” said board member Rohan D’Souza, whose three children attend TWS.

“Having a 100 per cent increase as claimed in other newspapers is out of the question, if that is the case then we would rather have the school shut. A lot of parents have more than two children in the school and cannot afford such an increase,” said another member of the parents’ board, German national Agnus, whose son attends TWS.

Around 20 parents took the petition to KHDA last Sunday. Parents told Gulf News that KHDA did not close the school, but that Gems did so based on a business decision. Parents took the petition to Gems who said they could only open if the fees were increased to a level that could sustain it. As a final resort the parents wrote a letter and took it to the Dubai ruler’s court hoping it would intervene to keep the school open.

“It might just be a business venture for some but these officials are failing to see that to us parents its an emotional and moral ordeal that affects our children’s emotional and psychologically states,” said Priya Kitnasamy also a member of the parents board who has one child at TWS.

— Noor Nazzal is an intern at Gulf News

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