UAE | Education

Plan to close Abu Dhabi school worries parents

Closure of Indian Islahi Islamic School will worsen scramble for seats

  • By Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 17:41 September 17, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
  • Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has displayed a permanent closure notice on the board of Indian Islahi Islamic School in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi: Parents of children enrolled at an Indian curriculum private school are greatly concerned about how their children will continue their education following the announcement that the institution will close down by the start of the 2014-2015 academic year.

The school, the Indian Islahi Islamic School, notified parents on September 15 that it has been ordered to close down by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec). According to a board put up outside the school gates, the date given for the closure is April 1, 2014.

Parents said they also received an official Adec memo that was distributed by the school on September 15.

“My son is currently in the 11th grade, and in the next academic year [starting April 2014 for Indian curriculum schools], he is expected to be in the 12th grade, preparing for his board exams. But the school has now told us it will no longer operate next year. Given the shortage of school seats at Indian curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi, how am I expected to find a seat for him at this late stage?” Amar Singh, a 50-year-old parent, told Gulf News.

The shortage of school seats in the capital, particularly in Indian curriculum schools, has long been a concern for parents. The shortage stems partially from the limited investment in the private education sector, and the closure of villa schools like the Indian Islahi Islamic School, which are built on designated residential plots. These facilities were found to be unsafe for children by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and, in 2009, the Adec announced that all such schools would be closed by the end of the 2013-2014 academic year.

Parents at the Indian Islahi Islamic School said that although they had been aware that their children were being educated in a villa-based facility, school authorities had never notified them earlier of an impending closure.

“I have asked the school authorities a number of times if they would continue operating and have never been informed otherwise. Now my son is in a higher grade and changing schools itself will be a disruption. Moreover, I have checked with some other schools and they have all said that there are no available places,” Singh said.

Fasaluddin Mohammad, 46, a facilities coordinator, said he was facing a similar dilemma.

“Both my sons are in the school, one in Grade 7 and another in Grade 11. I have been fretting about the situation since I came to know of it, and even visited the school to speak to the management today. However, no one was able to provide a solution,” he said.

Parents urged the school to find alternative places for their children.

“I think some special effort must be made to ensure that children who are preparing for board exams in the next academic year (2014-2015), namely, Grade 9 and Grade 11 pupils, are guaranteed continuity in their education,” Singh said.

“The Adec memo we received on Sunday is dated July 2, 2013. Had I known about this closure earlier, I would have had more time to look for solutions,” he added.

According to Muhsin K, principal at the school, the school currently has 1,310 pupils, including 336 new pupils who were admitted in the 2013-2014 academic year. The school received the closure notification from the Adec “in the first week of July”, he said.

“The school will provide all the possible assistance required for pupils to continue their education. [We are] trying to meet with the Adec to find ways to resolve the problem, and to make a request for the extension of the deadline,” the principal added.

Comments (17)

  1. Added 16:58 September 18, 2013

    This is a very shocking news. My three daughters are in this school. I couldn't get an idea of how I will solve this problem. It is very difficult to get admission for all together. I hope ADEC will consider the future of 1400 students and extend the deadline for at least 1 year and instead they can stop new admissions.

    Nisha majeed, Abudhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:42 September 18, 2013

    ADEC has been creating havoc in Abu Dhabi ever since they were formed. No doubt their intentions are good, but they are biased against non-american/british schools. And there is no logic to their actions. Their decisions are sudden and without thought of impact on students.

    Mohammad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 16:41 September 18, 2013

    ADEC gave closure notifications to several schools in 1st week of July. This gives ample time for non-Indian curriculum schools as they start only in Sep, whereas Indian schools are already in the middle of the academic year. ADEC should have given this notice at least by Feb 2013, so that parents would have made alternate arrangements. Now, we don't get seats elsewhere and also cannot move to India. ADEC being an educational authority should have representatives from all curriculums being taught in Abu Dhabi, so that they will know the real impact of such serious decisions.

    Ahmed, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 16:05 September 18, 2013

    This decision will affect the students studies as currently it is not possible to shift to another school. Hope that ADEC will extend the permission for another year.

    Roy Samuel, Abu Dhabi, India

  5. Added 15:47 September 18, 2013

    This is a very serious problem especially for those currently in Grade 11 & 9. No Indian school takes admission in grade 12 and optional subjects taught are also different. ADEC should have given this notice at least one academic year before the closure, so that no one would have taken admissions during this year. Hope ADEC somehow make these students 'Safe' in some school, after moving them from 'Unsafe' villas.

    Mohd, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 15:26 September 18, 2013

    Dear Readers, I would like to bring following points:- 1) Why school didn’t distribute the circular to students as it was issued on July. 2) As management knows the school is closing, why send a reminder for fees collection for next three months?

    Moahmed Manaf, ABU DHABI, India

  7. Added 15:21 September 18, 2013

    My 2 daughters are already studying in this school. When I received the 1st circular from the school on 3rd July regarding the changing of school location to Baniyas I was worried about the long time it will take them to reach the school and return from there since I have one more daughter to be admitted to KG next academic year. But the circular from ADEC really shocked me. I don't know what to do. It is well known that to get admission it is difficult even for 1 child what shall I do with these 3 children? If ADEC won't give the school management some solution I think I have to send my family to India. Hoping to get a humanitarian consideration from ADEC.

    NAWSHAD ABDULLA, ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 15:07 September 18, 2013

    My child is a student in 9th grade and we are finding trouble in finding admission for her in other schools. We hope that Adec will at least give the school some extension for the while.

    Musaddiq, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 14:48 September 18, 2013

    Being an Ex-Student of Islahi School, I can still recount the number of time the school management had told us that we would be getting a new school in Mafraq , Musafah, the place always changed but a day where they would actually have to close it down would come, I never ever expected. Feel bad for all the teachers and students who are left out in a lurch!

    Afrah, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 14:38 September 18, 2013

    I feel that this problem arose in the capital as soon as villa school closure was announced around at least 2-3 years back and till now ADEC has not been able to overcome this undersupply problem. Opening more schools with western syllabus will never be a solution to this as most of the students studying in the Indian syllabus cannot afford the high fee structure of Western curriculum, or they prefer Indian syllabus to others when considering higher education in India. Investors are not attracted to Indian schools because from a business point of view it is not profitable. Government must intervene and find an apt solution so that majority of the expats here being Indians can be provided with the kind of education they prefer. Unless authorities are sure they can place the students from closed down schools elsewhere without disturbing children's education they shouldn't go on shutting down schools adding more to the undersupply problem.

    Trija Thomas, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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