At the helm. Ramesh Panicker, president of the Indian Social and Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied

ABU DHABI Establishing a community school for Indians and expanding the current membership will be the top two priorities of the Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISCC) in Abu Dhabi, the newly-elected president told XPRESS.

“The shortage of seats in Indian schools is one of the most pressing issues facing the community in Abu Dhabi. Stepping up efforts towards establishing a non-profit community school is at the top of my agenda,” said Ramesh Panicker from Kerala who works in the corporate banking sector.

Current legal regulations of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) do not allow a socio-cultural organisation to run a school.

In 2013, ISC’s attempt to start a kindergarten met with no success.

“We have approached the Indian ambassador to take up the issue with local authorities,” said Panicker.

Panicker said the centre is focusing on enrolling new members. “Ours is one of the biggest social and cultural organisations in the Middle East. We have nearly 8,000 members and now we are launching a membership drive so that more people could use our sporting, entertainment and community facilities.”

The Dh35 million facility located on Mina Road has an auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,500, mini-hall, family room, children’s play area, library and reading room with internet facilities, multi-cuisine restaurant, swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts.

The Centre, which is one of the oldest and largest social and community organisations in the UAE, will celebrate its 48th anniversary on April 9.