The new uniform set. Image Credit: Anjana Sankar/XPRESS

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has overturned an Indian school’s decision to charge Dh700 for new school uniforms following complaints by parents.

Scores of parents had approached ADEC after the Sunrise English Private School in Musaffah asked them to fork out Dh700 for uniforms in the middle of the academic year. Even those who had bought the same uniform a few months earlier were asked to pay all over again.

The move caused an uproar among parents many of whom then called the ADEC hotline 800 5555 for help.

ADEC immediately acted on the complaints. On Monday, it told the school to rescind the move and reimburse parents who had paid for the uniforms.

ADEC response

“ADEC has taken immediate action and requested the principal to reimburse the money collected from parents,” the school watchdog’s Private School and Quality Assurance Department confirmed in a statement to XPRESS.

ADEC has also asked the CBSE curriculum school to stop collecting money for school uniforms and seek approval for any such fees from ADEC when the fee-increase window opens.

“Other relevant regulatory actions are now under process,” added the ADEC statement.

ADEC also categorically stated that parents are free to purchase a school uniform from anywhere so long as it meets the school’s specifications.

The intervention has come as a big relief for parents. “I can’t thank the authorities enough for stepping in to prevent what was nothing short of daylight robbery,” said a parent of a grade five student.

“We bought the uniform barely a few months ago. It’s in good condition so why should we bin it and buy a new set all over again,” he said.

Tuition fees refused

Parents said the school’s administration was refusing to accept second term tuition fees unless they paid extra for uniforms.

“There should be a limit to exploiting parents. Dh700 is a significant amount for many of us,” said another parent.

The school had introduced a sky blue shirt and grey trousers for boys and sky blue shirt and check pinafore for girls at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.

As per their website, two sets of the school uniform plus sports uniform, winter jacket, tie, belt and three sets of socks for boys from Grade 1 to 12 cost Dh710. The same set for girls is being sold for Dh770.

Many parents said they got uniform stitched by tailors.

“It was much cheaper and had a better fitting,” said a father who has two children going to the same school.

School principal Dr Thakur S. Mulchandani said parents don’t have to purchase new uniforms. “The issue has been sorted out now. We will be making an announcement to the same effect. There was some miscommunication,” said Mulchandani.

The school has around 3,000 students and charges tuition between Dh7,200 and Dh10,700 for grades one to 12.

 

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