Parents agitated over ‘mandatory’ school contract

Speaking with Khaleej Times, Amal Belhasa, Chief of Compliance and Resolution at the KHDA, said: “All parents must sign the contract.”


Muaz Shabandri

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Published: Sat 30 May 2015, 12:15 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:51 PM

Dubai — Several parents in Dubai have voiced concerns with the latest parent-school contracts enforced by the education regulator. Private schools have been instructed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to get signatures from parents on a contract outlining the rights and responsibilities of parents and schools.

Manal Awafi, a parent in Dubai said: “I was called by my daughter’s school to come at a particular time and was asked to sign on a screen. I was told that the contract will be sent via an e-mail later. On questioning them I was told it’s a new contract which has to be signed if my child needs to stay in the school. There was no option of not signing or changing any of the terms and conditions, which I didn’t even have an option to see.”

Another parent who did not wish to be named shared a similar experience. He said: “I got several calls from my child’s school to come during a working day and immediately sign the contract. There was no option but to leave all my office work and go to the school. Why are schools in such a rush to get our signature? Couldn’t they plan it better and call us on different days?”

Speaking with Khaleej Times, Amal Belhasa, Chief of Compliance and Resolution at the KHDA, said: “All parents must sign the contract.”

“The contract is mandatory in all schools in which it is introduced as part of student registration.”

The KHDA is introducing the contracts as an attempt to reduce disputes between schools and parents. Once signed by both parties, the contract guarantees admission to the next grade, details on the school’s education programme, fee policy, health and safety guidelines, attendance and other key responsibilities.

“A school should not accept any students in the current year without a signed contract as it’s a mandatory step to complete the registration,” said Amal.

This year 80,000 students in Indian and Pakistani schools and 38,600 students in other schools will be covered under the parent-teacher contract.

A copy of the contract provided to Khaleej Times stipulated 15 pages of terms and conditions applicable to parents. Refusal to sign the contract is not an option and parents must agree to the conditions set out by the regulator.

“The terms and conditions stipulated in this contract are a reference for dispute resolution. The KHDA will uphold the agreement stipulated in this contract when a party refers a matter to KHDA for deliberation and endorsement,” read the contract’s introduction section.

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