Parents frustrated over Dubai school's late pick-up charges

Sarwat Nasir/Dubai
Filed on January 11, 2020 | Last updated on January 12, 2020 at 11.09 am
dubai school, late pickup, charges, kids, pick up, fee

(KT file)

Students who are not collected by 2.30 will incur a fee for after-school supervision.

Parents have called out a school for charging 'after-school supervision fees' because of mums and dads who pick up their kids late.

Trying to justify the new fees, the school said "a huge number of own transport students" were not being collected by parents within the stipulated time, despite raising the issue "many times".

Al Sadiq Islamic English School issued a circular to parents in first week of January, saying: "Please be reminded that students should not arrive to school late as it is disruptive to their learning and progress and likewise with collection at dispersal.

Students who are not collected by 2.30 will incur a fee for after-school supervision - this will be added automatically to the student fee account."

Parents are frustrated with the new fees and are now requesting the school to remove the charges.

"We are shocked to know that we have to pay yet another fee. There are plenty of challenges for parents who pick up and drop off their children in schools," said one father whose child is enrolled at the school.

"The delay in picking up kids after the school closure can never be intentional. Parents will never want their children to wait in school after closure, and the delays are always genuine, either because of heavy office work, traffic jams or car breakdown.

"Since these are genuine reasons, we believe that the school should not impose this fee. Authorities could also take these reasons into account and ask schools not to come up with these new charges," he added.

Another parent said: "Most schools have waiting rooms, but this charge doesn't make any sense to me. It is a school and we already pay enough. We shouldn't have to pay supervision fees."

'It's optional'

In a statement sent to Khaleej Times, the principal of the school, Sadia Wajid, said after-school supervision is optional and applicable only to parents who wish the school to take care of their children after the usual school hours.

"Children being present on the campus either before or after school hours - when, normally, female staff are not present - poses a safeguarding issue," she said.

"The safety of the students is a huge concern for the school management. The class teachers and other female staff must leave the campus after their scheduled work time. We were faced with a situation where our female staff cannot leave the campus after their work hours because students were still on the campus. The matter has been raised with the parents concerned many times, and many of them have responded with a request for after-school supervision services."

Wajid added that the topic was also mentioned in their Knowledge and Human Development Authority-approved parent contract for academic year 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, which has been signed by all parents.

What other schools do

Other schools in Dubai have a free-of-cost method of looking after children who are picked up late.

The executive principal of Taaleem's Dubai British School, Brendon Fulton, said no schools under their group charge additional fees for such late pick-ups.

"As a school group, we fully understand that parents lead busy lives and our goal is always to support the whole family. We thus do not believe that parents should be 'punished' for being late to collect their children.

"At the Dubai British School group, we offer two free extra-curricular activities to all students every week, thus allowing families to be flexible with collection times on these days. We also offer a flexible pick-up routine whereby parents of primary students are able to come into the school to fetch their children or drive through our collection area," Fulton explained.

"However, even with these provisions in place, we understand that there may still be the odd occasion where parents, for whatever reason, are late to collect their children from school. To this end, we have a 'late collection room' in the school, where all students are kept under adult supervision until their parents arrive."

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