Image Credit: Alex Westcott/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: All villa schools operating in the capital will be closed by the end of the 2012-2013 academic year, it was revealed by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).

"Adec has already shut down 21 villa schools, of which 10 were closed last year. Among them, six were closed immediately because of their high health and safety risks, leaving only 50 villa schools that are currently in operation," Yousuf Al Sheryani, Private Schools and Quality Assurance Executive Director, Adec, said.

Brian Fox, division manager for licensing and accreditation in private schools and quality assurance sector at Adec, told Gulf News, "The emirate of Abu Dhabi has more students than suitably safe classroom space.

Many of our schools, particularly villas, are not safe places for students." When asked how many extra safe buildings will be introduced to accommodate students from now until 2013, Fox said: "We don't have an exact number now, we're in the process of building a master plan which will tell us how many private schools we will design to meet specific areas, and that plan is being built as we speak. All I can say is that we're not putting any children on the street, students are entitled to education in a safe environment."

Individual investors

There are currently 183 private schools and a total of 299 in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. According to a press briefing last November, Adec initially plans to build 100 new public schools across the emirate in the next ten years.

"Private schools depend on individual investors, that's why it's hard to say how many of them will be open in the near future," explained a senior spokesperson at Adec.

To facilitate this, Adec announced six months ago the provision of six plots of land in Khalifa City B and Mohammad Bin Zayed City for the development of new private schools.

"During the past few months, Adec has initiated a tendering process to relocate a number of villa schools into vacant public school facilities… Additionally, Adec is also merging schools and any additional seats are being provided for students who were a part of villa schools," Al Sheryani said.

Three plots of land, each approximately 18,000 to 22,000 square metres, will be allocated under a lease arrangement for schools to run the Adec curriculum.


  • 50  - villa schools operational in Abu Dhabi currently
  • 299 - total number of schools in Abu Dhabi
  • 183 - private schools in Abu Dhabi

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