Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Director-General, Abu Dhabi Education Council, addressing yesterday’s press conference. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Some 40 public schools will be closed down and merged with bigger schools in their respective localities starting next academic year 2011-2012.

Students, teachers and administrative staff of the affected schools will be relocated to other institutions.

The major revamp is in compliance with Abu Dhabi's Vision 2030.

At present, there are 299 schools operating in Abu Dhabi. The mergers will bring the number down to 271.

According to the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) the move is meant to improve the quality of education in public schools in the emirate.

Adec announced that 11 new and well-equipped schools will be opened in the emirate of which four will be in the city of Abu Dhabi, five in Al Ain and two in the Western Region.

"The schools will be closed and merged for various reasons, including the fact that they are unable to meet our health and safety requirements." Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Director-General, Adec, said.

Exhaustive study

"This reorganisation process was based on an exhaustive study that took into consideration all geographic and demographic factors to ensure that pupils receive quality education in line with global standards," he added.

Al Khaili said 23 new schools are currently under construction and are expected to be operational in the 2012-2013 academic year. The schools will have larger classrooms, laboratories, IT and sports facilities, administrative and teacher-designated areas as well as various environmentally friendly features.

"We aimed at having an average of 20 pupils per teacher in each classroom. Eleven schools will be refurbished and opened in time for the new academic year.

"In addition to providing our pupils with the necessary equipment to enhance their education experience, we are also introducing support structures for special needs and gifted pupils," Al Khaili said.

"The "green" features will also allow pupils to become more aware of the environment and we hope that the expanded facilities will cause the schools to become a focal point in the communities they are based in," he added.

Female pupils will also be allowed to study in some boys' schools. Separate facilities will be built for them.

The move is part of Adec's plan to enhance schools' performance and increase the flexibility of the educational sector.

"The updated information will be provided in our Geographic Information System (GIS) programme, which will include the name of the school, number of pupils, location and their educational level," he added.

He also explained that the restructuring will bring with it some job losses among teachers and administrators. However, Adec is striving to ensure that not many will be affected by the changes.

"Currently, there are 11,000 teachers and administrators employed across the emirate. Last year, we experienced a 10 per cent turnover rate, which is normal across the world. Understandably, educators are concerned about whether they will remain with the changes to be implemented. They will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis… there will be redundancies; however, we will work to ensure that as many as possible will be retained."

Campus notes

  • Opening of new schools: Abu Dhabi (4), Al Ain (5), Al Gharbia (2)
  • Merging of schools: Abu Dhabi (8), Al Ain (20), Al Gharbia (12)
  • Transfer of school locations to new sites: Abu Dhabi (3), Al Ain (12), Al Gharbia (3)
  • Admission of female students in boy's schools: Abu Dhabi (4), Al Ain (5), Al Gharbia (1)
  • Abandonment of school buildings: Abu Dhabi (7), Al Ain (30), Al Gharbia (14)