Dubai: The new parent-school contract announced by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) will impose a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying to offer all students an emotionally safe environment.
According to the contract bullies will be expelled from the school if it is proved they have bullied a fellow student.
The new legally binding contract between parents and private schools in Dubai was announced by the KHDA last week to reduce disputes between parents and schools by outlining each party’s rights and responsibilities.
“Throughout our weekly visit to schools, we found that a number of the same concerns were being raised by different schools. It was clear that the reason behind it was the lack of a binding agreement between both schools and parents. Schools which had clearly outlined agreements with parents experienced fewer grievances,” said Amal Bel Hasa, Chief of the Compliance and Resolution Commission at the KHDA.
The contract will be mandatory for students upon registration and will first be implemented on a total of 9,632 students from six schools at the start of the 2013/14 academic year.
The exact responsibilities and policies that each party must abide by was highlighted and among these policies is the contract’s Attitudes and Behaviour article.
According to the article the school should have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in all its forms, including emotional, physical, psychological and cyber. Instances of proven and intentional bullying will result in immediate expulsion of the aggressor from school and the matter will be referred to the KHDA for approval.
Other responsibilities of parents include attending all meetings, conferences and reviews related to their child’s performance and understanding that continued tardiness and absenteeism can affect the child’s enrolment for the next academic year.
The school’s responsibilities include informing parents of their child’s progress through regular reports and meetings, providing students with appropriate medical care and treating cases with confidentiality and promoting and reinforcing awareness about healthy lifestyle habits.
According to the contract every school must set up an appeal process and parents are expected to refer to the process for any conflict resolution within the school.
The process should allow parents/students to question the decision made by the school at any level and meet the person directly involved in the decision (teacher or supervisor).
If the parent is not satisfied then he can meet the head of section. If the issue is still not resolved the parent can meet the principal. If the parent is still not pleased he can write an official letter to the board of governors who can then set up a committee to study the matter and within ten working days issue a written report to the principal and parent.
The first phase of the contract will involve 9,632 students from six schools — Dubai Modern Education School, Al Ittihad Private School-Al Mamzar, Al Ittihad Private School- Jumeirah, School of Modern Skills, Greenwood International School and American Academy in Al Mizhar.
Bel Hasa said that plans to implement the contract in all Dubai private schools will be determined when evaluation of the first phase is completed.