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.