Competitive learning at the doorstep
Subsidised fee tariff and scholarships are attractive features for more than 8,000 Pakistani students in the UAE Subsidised fee tariff and scholarships are attractive features for more than 8,000 Pakistani students in the UAE
Pakistani community-run schools have made a mark for themselves, and with the passage of time are great in demand. The fact that the UAE is home to more than 1.5 million Pakistanis makes it all the more important, as expatriates lookout for educational institutions in relevance with their home country curriculum.
There are roughly 13 Pakistani schools in the UAE, and among them, one is under the British curriculum. A total of around 8,000 students go to community-run schools. Likewise, there are seven Pakistani schools under the supervision of the Pakistan Embassy/Consulate. Their syllabus and other extra-curricular affairs have been streamlined to the best of professional standards, and Pakistani academic institutions in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, as well as Abu Dhabi, are dispensing quality education.
Consul General, Dubai, Brig. Javed Hassan told Khaleej Times, "We are conscious of needs and necessities of a growing community, and addressing education issues on a priority basis."
He said that presently there are seven community schools in the UAE, and two of them are in Abu Dhabi. The plan is to ensure quality education for the wards of expatriates at a reasonable fee, along with competitive values of modern learning. The fee tariff is subsidised and scholarships are also granted. Authorities say a nominal fee of Dh250 to Dh450 per month is charged, and the motive is to ensure competitive education and a befitting environment for Pakistani students in the UAE. More than 150 teachers are recruited at the seven community schools.
The role played by several welfare bodies in dispensing quality education is worth emulating. The intention is to ensure continuous and sustained training till the FSC level, and also for the provision of stipends for the needy talented students.
Authorities in the Pakistan embassy say there are plans to expand the network of schools and provide with better facilities for approximately 10,000 students. Similarly, some of the leading Pakistani universities are also active in the UAE and plan to open their offshore campus here. SZABIST, a famous university and research centre, already has a campus in Academic City, Dubai.
In Ras Al Khaimah, a new school is being built and is estimated to cost Dh8 million. Presently, more than 600 students are studying there. Brig Hassan said that the land had been granted and a title deed had been acquired. "We hope to start the work on the building by the coming academic year, and it is expected to be completed in 18 months."
Whereas a similar number of students are enrolled in Fujairah, and around 1,400 at Dubai's Shaikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistan School. For a new school in Fujairah, 9,600 square feet of land has been generously granted by the UAE authorities, and it is estimated to cost Dh19 million for erecting a superstructure. Another Pakistani school in Sharjah is being run by an Emirati and is qualitatively well-placed.
Authorities say expansion plans are underway and it is hoped that the private sector will be encouraged to come up with schools to cater to the growing need of Pakistani students in the UAE.