Dubai: More than 125 newly enrolled students have been left in the lurch as Dubai’s education authority temporarily suspended the licence of the Dubai American Scientific School (DASS) after it was found to be in breach of rules and regulations set by the authority.
Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) officials found a number of things amiss at the school including illegal hiring of teachers, violence on the school premises and non-compliance with safety regulations.
Located in Al Quoz, the school which follows the US curriculum was rated unsatisfactory during inspections by KHDA earlier this year. In August, the school was informed not to take new students on its roll until the rules and regulations were complied with. However, the school went ahead and admitted 125 new students this academic year without notifying KHDA, officials said.
After this came to light, the KHDA directed parents of new students to immediately withdraw their children and find another schools for them warning that the certificates of their children would have no validity without being registered with the KHDA.
The school, holding classes from kindergarten to grade 12, is attended by 527 previously registered students, including 187 Emirati students.
“After a series of repeated violations which it failed to address, KHDA has temporarily suspended the education permit of DASS,” Abdul Rahman Nasser, executive director of customers relations at KHDA, said.
Under the suspension effected in August, DASS is prohibited from accepting new students for the 2012/13 academic year.
“Certificates of students who enrolled for the first time in September 2012 will not be attested by KHDA, and no transfer certificate will be provided,” Nasser said.
Nasser said that KHDA will provide support to parents who looking for alternative schools for their children. He reiterated that KHDA is committed to ensuring that private school students in Dubai have access to the highest quality of education possible.
Parents have already paid up the fees and are now in the process of demanding refunds from the school.
A source at the KHDA said that the school has agreed to give refunds to the parents.
When contacted, Dr Amy Robertson, the principal of the school refused to comment.
According to KHDA, at least 20 teachers were working at the school without permits from the authority or the Ministry of Labour.
The school also sent incorrect details of students to the authority, while other students studying at the school did not have their names on the list.
Officials said that the school does not have clear academic guidance and teaches different topics in a random manner, which distracts students.
KHDA also found that 30 students were absent from school for periods varying between 21-76 days without valid reasons, despite the law stating that any student who is absent for 21 days without a valid excuse must be expelled. Parents were charged double the fees approved by the KHDA as well, officials said.
Parents have already begun calling the KHDA for help in finding placements for their children.
Over the years, several complaints have been lodged against the school by parents. During one of the inspections, KHDA inspectors came across a violent brawl between two students and a knife brandished by one of the students was taken away by the inspectors.
It was also found that there were students who were studying from home, despite being registered at the school.
Despite all the issues, the school will not be closed down, as that is not the policy of KHDA, a source said. “Instead parents will be made aware that these are the issues and will be urged to make the right choice by moving their children out of the school.”