Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Securing seats at a good school is a daunting task for many parents in the UAE. The waiting list is growing by months and in Abu Dhabi, Indian curriculum schools have at least 15,000 pupils awaiting admissions.

Similarly, British, American and International Baccalaureate (IB) schools have been unable to satisfy demand in the country and the number of pupils waiting to enrol in these schools is growing too. No comprehensive waiting list is available yet but each school has between 30 to 100 applications awaiting admission.

Ram Menon, Manager for Private International English School (PIES), told Gulf News there are over 3,000 students waiting to get into the school since the beginning of the school year.

Master plan

The increasing demand for seats in schools has seen the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) increase the number of students in classrooms from 30 students per classroom to 33 students in schools with long waiting lists.

Brian Fox, ADEC Division Manager for Licensing and Accreditation admitted that there is no balance between supply and demand of students space in Abu Dhabi and said the council is working to solve the problem by developing a master plan taking into the consideration the need for schools in certain areas of the emirate.

In Dubai, many parents, who have sought admissions for their wards in lower classes, anticipate rejection at their first choice school, due to lack of seats. Most are registering at more than one school to avoid disappointment.

The demand for places in schools has been further augmented by influx of students from neighbouring Arab countries, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). "The private school sector is currently experiencing its usual demand for school seats. This demand has been further augmented by the influx of student population from the neighbouring Arab countries," Mohammad Darwish, chief of Regulation and Compliance at KHDA told Gulf News.