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School principal unauthorised, KHDA says

KHDA unsure about number of students affected due to temporary license suspension of school

Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
The majority of teachers at Dubai American Scientific School are yet to obtain educational permits from KHDA and labourpermits from the Labour Ministry.
Gulf News

Dubai: The principal of the Dubai American Scientific School (DASS), which recently had its license temporarily suspended by Dubai’s education authority, is unauthorised to hold the position, a senior official disclosed to Gulf News.

Blatant violations of the law have surfaced as an uncertain fate faces 125 newly enrolled students after the Knowledge and Human Development Authority’s (KHDA) suspended the license of the school temporarily over breaches of rules and regulations.

“The principal is not authorised to speak for the school because she has not been approved by KHDA to hold the position. She neither holds a permit from KHDA, nor a labour ministry permit,” said Abdul Rahman Nasser, executive director of customers relations at KHDA. The school, located in Al Quoz, follows the US curriculum.

Based on investigations, Gulf News found that the principal, Dr Amy Robertson has pending immigration issues with her former employer, which has prevented the formalities with the new school from being completed.

KHDA has been working with the school to resolve its problems since the inspections rated it as unsatisfactory, Abdul Rahman Nasser said. “There were major health and safety issues, discrepancies in student attendance and illegal hiring of teachers.”

KHDA wrote to the school in March that these concerns need to be addressed. It was also told not to take new students until everything was resolved.

The 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. Hence, KHDA directed parents of new students to immediately withdraw their children and find other schools.

Officials are still unsure about the number of new students enrolled at the school, as well as the number of previously enrolled students.

“We still don’t know the exact number of students at the school. The number given to us is different from the number in their registers, which again is different from the number of students in their classrooms,” said Nasser.

When KHDA’s inspectors turned up at the school unannounced and took head counts, the numbers varied vastly. “Students could come and go as they please or even take extended number of leaves without reason. And attendance in classrooms was as low as 30 per cent. It is worrying that the majority of teachers at the school are yet to obtain educational permits from KHDA and labour permits from the Labour Ministry,” he added.

Incidents of violence and smoking were also reported.

On Monday, between seven and eight concerned families had approached KHDA for help finding alternative schools for their children.

“We have been able to help out all of them. The school will not be closed down, as this is not the policy of KHDA. Parents will be made aware about the issues and will be urged to make the right choice by moving their children out of the school,” said Nasser.

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