Abu Dhabi: Ten schools operating out of villas in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain face closure after being warned for the second time of not complying with the infrastructural guidelines formulated by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).
The schools in Abu Dhabi are Al Noor Indian Islamic School, Leens Kindergarten and School, Barem Al Aqsa Private School, Salahuddin Private School and Al Bustan Private School.
The five in Al Ain are Oasis Private School, New Hilal Private School, International Private School, Zahrat Al Madain Private School, and Al Amal Private School.
A team from Adec inspected the schools and found them lacking in several facilities and requirements, and having poor infrastructure, some of which included narrow corridors and staircases limiting ease of evacuation in the event of any mishap.
There was also found to be insufficient fire-fighting equipment and warning systems, lack of safe areas for students to be dropped off or collected to and from school, and lack of any areas other than the street to evacuate the occupants of the buildings to in case of emergency.
These risks are further compounded by overcrowding within the buildings, which would impact negatively on any required evacuation in a potential emergency scenario.
After initially being giving a 28-day grace period to amend their status and comply with the requirements the schools were given a further seven days to fix certain health and safety risks identified by the inspection team.
They have now been given second warnings for non-compliance, and may possibly be shut down by the Adec.
If the schools fail to comply within the seven days provided then the Adec could apply financial penalties and ultimately revoke their licences. Given the failure of the ten schools to become compliant despite Adec's earlier warning, the body has ordered each of them to notify their parent bodies of that risk.
The schools are also not permitted to register any students for the remainder of the current academic year or for the next one until they become fully compliant.
Adec has advised all parents to carefully check safety and other provisions of any school that they consider to enroll their children in and ensure that the school they choose has valid licence.
Yousif Al Sheryani, Adec's Private Schools and Quality Assurance Executive Director, said the council is keen to continuously monitor all private schools and make sure they meet its standards and criteria "to provide students with optimal educational services in an adequate learning environment".
"All private schools must ensure their buildings meet the safety standards for the benefit of the students and the community. We have received numerous complaints from parents about schools that fail to meet these standards and we encourage everybody in the community to report any similar violations to Adec in order that we may take necessary action", said Al Sheryani.