Private schools in Abu Dhabi overbooked
Schools resort to lottery system
Private schools across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi are 'overbooked' for admission and some have received as many as 2,800 registrations for the 2016-2017 academic year, while their capacity hardly reaches 300.
"The problem is parents are afraid that their children may not get in, so they register their kids with two, three or even four schools at a time, and only make their final decision when it is time to pay the first school fee," explained P.R., a school administrator at one of the Indian schools in Abu Dhabi.
"We began registrations in December 2015 and just finished the process last week. We offered admission to 250 students from over 2,000 applications, but 40 of them dropped out because they accepted admissions in other schools," he added.On the other hand, parents claim that this practice of multiple registrations has become 'necessary' since there is no way to guarantee a child's admission in school at the registration time.
"It happened to me last year. I registered for admission for my daughter in a school in the Mohammed bin Zayed area, close to where I lived. But they had more applications than available places, so they chose the students using a lottery procedure. My daughter did not get in," said Nazi Ahmed, an Indian resident here.
Eventually, she managed to get admission for her daughter in a far away school. This year she submitted applications to four different schools of her choice.
Most schools, where the demand is much higher than the availability of places, choose their students considering different factors such as siblings studying in the school, staff's children and grades, and then use a lottery system in order to be as fair as possible.
Indian curriculum schools face issues with overbooking mostly, because new Indian schools are very few, but British and other curricula also are of high demand. Apart from school proximity and fees, parents also choose schools based on their reputation.
According to a survey done by WhichSchoolAdvisor, 66.86 per cent of parents are happy with the schools of their children and would recommend it to another parent, with British schools doing the best - 73.87 per cent of parents recommending the school.
The new Amity International School, which has a British curriculum, has students who come all the way from Abu Dhabi Corniche to Bahia, the school's location, an over 60km bus journey one way.
The latest school to announce expansion, due to high demand for places is the French high school Lycée Théodore Monod, which has just begun construction of a second school , meant to open in the 2017-2018 academic year. Over 500 French and French-speaking students have already registered for the Théodore Monod and Louis Massignon, the emirate's second French school.
"We have a very diverse community of students, some 30 different nationalities. Most of them are French, Lebanese come really close, then students from the Maghreb and about three per cent of our students are Emirati," said Gorse, principal of the new Lycée Théodore Monod.
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