Nurseries not allowed to enrol children above four

DUBAI — Nursery schools are not allowed to enrol children who are above four years old, a senior official at the Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) made clear on Thursday.

By Ahmed Shaaban? (KT Exclusive)

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Published: Sat 31 Jul 2010, 1:03 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:20 AM

In case children above four are found studying in nursery, they’ll be shifted out and enrolled in Grade-1, warned Moza Salem Al Shoomy, Director of Child Department at the MOSA.

Nurseries which fall under MOSA are only open for children aged up to four years, while kindergartens are licensed by the Ministry of Education to receive children from four to six, Al Shoomy stated. “Nursery schools are only concerned with early education, known as day-care, and do not qualify children for preliminary stage. MOSA has received several complaints from parents who could not register their children in Grade-1 because they were enrolled at nurseries till the age ofsix,” Al Shoomy told Khaleej Times.

Also, parents are advised to initially check the licence of the school they wish to enrol their children in. “All the nurseries approved by MOSA are listed on the ministry’s e-gate,” she said, adding that the ministry was set to launch an intensive campaign inSeptember this year on its website and Arabic and English media to sensitise parents in this regard.

“Both nurseries and kindergartens have different licences, methods, classes and requirements. Nonetheless, some nurseries put advertisements offering kindergarten education and play tricks with parents who are not aware of the procedures,” she explained.

She also suggested to check the articles of agreement concluded with nurseries before putting signatures so as to avoid hassles related to fees later. “Parents need to know if registration is included in school fees just in case they want to shift their children to another nursery so that they can smoothly get their money refunded,” she said.

Calling for greater cooperation, Al Shoomy called on parents to interact with the Child Department and report any violations they come across through the ministry’s e-gate — — or at its telephone number 04-6011260/263/259.

“The ministry does not want to play a policeman’s role; on the contrary one of our strategic goals is to drop warning letters by 2011. Our main objective is to protect children.”

Al Shoomy also alerted parents of illegal summer camps which some nurseries run in violation of the law just to make money during summer. “Some nurseries were found to be using improper plastic swimming pools with no filters or sanitised water or following safety procedures, whichended in many children’s serious infection and illness.”

Some other nurseries have even gone on to open camps for children up to 10 years old. They recruited men workers, unlicensed staff, and employees without medical fitness certificates or labour cards, which make little children vulnerable to serious risks.

“Should any nursery school wish to hold a summer camp, they can simply contact the ministry to get a No Objection Certificate and learn about the right procedures, methods and tools. Nurseries can make business but not at the cost of children,”Al Shoomy stressed.

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