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Dubai: The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) oversees all the schools in Dubai and as a result any issues that arise between parents and schools are reported to the organisaiton.

The KHDA has introduced several measures to boost the quality of education in the emirate and one of the ways in which it has tried to improve school-parent relationships is by making the two parties sign a contract.

What is the parent-school contract?

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The parent-school contract was introduced by KHDA in 2013 to address the number of conflicts that were being reported, either from parents or from schools.

Whether it was the arbitrary introduction of costly services by schools or parents failing to play their role in the child’s education, conflicts were reported by both parties to KHDA.

By introducing a detailed contract that enlists the legal responsibilities of each party, the details of the number of subjects, school fees and extra-curricular activities as well as details on the communication process between the two, KHDA wanted to create greater transparency and clarity in the parent-school relationship.

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What does the parent school-contract contain?

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The parent-school contract contains the following sections:

1. Admission

  • The responsibilities of the parents
  • The responsibilities of the school

2. Curriculum and Educational programmes

  • Mandatory subjects
  • Subjects offering
  • Choice of educational streams
  • Assessment policy
  • Promotion and retention policies
  • Extra-curricular activities and celebrations
  • Graduation requirements
  • Graduate certificate

3. Fees

  • Annual school fees
  • Additional mandatory fees
  • Additional optional fees
  • Returning students
  • New students
  • Refunds
  • Sibling policy
  • Discount policy/Scholarship policy

4. Communication for effective partnership

  • The responsibilities of the school
  • The responsibilities of the parents

5. Attendance and punctuality

  • The responsibilities of the school
  • The responsibilities of the parents

6. Attitudes and behaviour

7. Health and safety

  • The responsibilities of the school
  • The responsibilities of the parents

8. Transportation

9. Appeal process

10. Declaration

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How long will it take me to read it?

According to KHDA, it would take parents around 20 minutes to review the contract in detail. However, it is absolutely crucial that you do not skip over details, as once you sign the contract you cannot raise objections to fees, structures or processes that you failed to read.

20minutes

The time it takes to review a contract completely

Do I have to do this every year?

While parents need to sign the contract at the start of each annual year, it is not required to read the contract from end-to-end. Any changes and updates will be highlighted to the parents, as the process is completely digital.

NOTE:
If you did not read the new academic year’s contract and did not sign it, you run the risk of facing possible conflicts. If parents send their child to school on the first day school starts, it will be considered that they have accepted the terms and conditions of the contract, including any changes or updates that were made. This is because the KHDA and the school alert the parents through various means before the academic year begins, informing them of the need to sign the contract.

Also, schools can only make changes to contracts once the previous one has expired, which is at the end of the academic year. Any changes will be highlighted to the parents for review before signing.

What is the process?

These are the steps for each parent-school contract:

1. The school uploads the contract as well as students’ information onto the KHDA system.

2. The school informs the parents of the year’s contract and emails a copy to them.

3. Parents can sign the contract using the KHDA app or the DubaiNow app.

In the KHDA app, you have to register the details of your children, while in the DubaiNow app, the details can be recovered using your Emirates ID number. You will need to have a UAEPASS to access this service. Alternatively, you can visit the school to sign the contract or do it online.

4. Parents receive email and SMS confirmations after signing the contract.

5. The students’ registration, then, is completed in the KHDA school system.

What if I am unhappy with a clause?

KHDA advises parents to work with the school and come to an agreement. If, however, certain clauses are not acceptable to you and are not changed by the school, you might need to look at other schools that meet your requirements.

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Residents in the UAE invest the most in their chlidren's education, with tuition fees in the country one of the highest in the world. Contracts such as these ensure that residents don't face any uncertainty with regards to their child's academic journey and how much of an investment they need to make with their time, money and energy.