Students of villa schools in Abu Dhabi left in the lurch

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Students of villa schools in Abu Dhabi left in the lurch

Solution may soon be in sight for the more than 1,400 students of the Indian Islahi Islamic School, in Mushrif who will be affected by the closure of their school by the end of the academic year in March 2014.

By Olivia Olarte – Ulherr

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Published: Sat 21 Sep 2013, 12:24 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:57 AM

In a statement on Thursday, the Private School and Quality Assurance (PQSA) sector of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) said it is “currently working on a solution for the students” while the management of the school said they are working alongside the Indian Embassy, which is “doing its part to (also) find a solution.”

The Indian Islahi Islamic School, which will be closed in March 2014— KT file photo

In an announcement made by the Adec on July 2, the school is among the two Indian curriculum schools that will close down in March next year for not operating from a purpose-built facility. Adec said the school has also not presented a credible plan for relocation. The other school which will face closure will be the Little Flower Private School (KG1-Grade 8) in Al Dhafra.

With just six months to go before the end of the Indian academic year and the current lack of schools offering affordable fees for the CBSE curriculum, parents are worried that their children will be left in the lurch. They said it would be too late for them to send their children back home and that those in the higher grades will find it extremely difficult to find placements in other schools.

“We are in a confused state as the school with a large number of Indian students from Junior KG to standard 12 cannot be easily accommodated in any other school as of today in Abu Dhabi. The schools with Indian curriculum are limited and most of the parents cannot afford the fee structure of new generation CBSE schools within Abu Dhabi island,” said Mohammed Najeeb a parent.

He said that prior to the summer break, they were informed of the relocation to a new building in Baniyas. However, soon after re-opening this month they were told of the closure.

“Now parents are in a panic situation to assure a seat for their children for the next academic year. Students of higher standards like grades 11 and 9 will suffer most even if they plan to go back to India,” he pointed out.

In 2009, Adec began closing down villa schools due to the safety and security risks overcrowding in a residential unit posed to students and staff. After the closure of three other schools by the summer of 2014, the remaining villa schools to close are down to 20 from 72 in 2009. The schools closing in July 2014 include Al Fajr English International School (British curriculum) in Shaikh Zayed Street; Salahuddin Private School (MoE) in Al Karamah; and the Philippine National School in Al Falah area.

“Adec is currently working on a solution for students who will be affected by future school closures. Announcements will be made once these plans are finalised,” said the statement from the PQSA.

Adec said it is currently trying to increase the capacity in the market to accommodate students from the closed villa schools. “Plans are actually in place and PSQA is working closely with investors from the Indian community committed to their social responsibility to help their community to ensure the continuity of their students.

“Parents of these schools have been informed since June 2013 that a number of schools will be closed in March 2014 and others in 2015. So, those closing in March 2014 have been given a heads-up about seven months prior to the closure so as to do their planning and logistics if need be,” the statement said.

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