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Dubai school did not detain kids over fees: Police

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on February 13, 2020 | Last updated on February 13, 2020 at 07.42 am
Dubai school, , detain, kids, fees, Police, Dubai Police, Qusais Police Station

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The KHDA said relevant teams are investigating and following-up on the incident.

Police officials have rubbished the reports of a Dubai school 'locking' up students in the school gym, saying the children were not detained over non-payment of school fees.

Arabic media quoted a Dubai Police source saying that the school, however, did gather students who hadn't paid the school fees, and asked to 'wait in the sports hall till the parents collected them from the school campus'. Furthermore, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has clearly stated that schools are not allowed to stop students from completing their academic year or appearing for examinations due to non-payment of fees.

After receiving calls about a disturbance on the school campus, a police patrol car from Qusais Police Station arrived at the school campus to inspect the incident.

"Meanwhile, other students made a video of them waiting and said that they were being detained, which wasn't the case," the police said.

In this case, the police officials have taken the necessary procedures and gathered details from students, parents and school administrators to continue further legal procedures. Moreover, a source close to the matter said the school authorities called the police after the parents aggressively questioned school management over the issue.

The American curriculum school in Dubai's Qusais area came under fire from the parent community on Tuesday following this incident. The KHDA said relevant teams are investigating and following-up on the incident.

What schools can do to recover dues

Amal Belhasa, CEO of Knowledge and Human Development Policies at the KHDA, said: "Schools have a right to receive fees in return for the education provided. However, as per regulations, schools are not allowed to stop students from completing their academic year or appearing for examinations due to non-payment of fees."

She added: "Schools can withhold final examination results and transfer letter until the fees are paid in full as agreed between both parties in the parent-school contract. While parents are usually committed towards their financial obligations, those who need the flexibility must engage with the school and work towards agreeing on a suitable payment plan."

Even in the parent-KHDA contract signed during admission to the school, a copy of which has been studied by Khaleej Times, clearly states that 'the school has the right not to issue the transfer certificate if there is any outstanding balance on fees and to refer the issue to the KHDA.'

A second clause also says 'transfer certificate and report cards will not be released until the full fee of all the sibling students is paid'.

Over the years, many parents facing financial liabilities were forced to pull either one or two of their children out of school due to non-payment of fees. An Indian parent told Khaleej Times: "I want to move my kids to a cheaper school, but my kids' previous school has not been able to issue a transfer certificate because we have an outstanding fee of Dh8,000, which my husband and I cannot afford. My two kids haven't gone to school in two years."

Another parent said: "I have been homeschooling my daughter ever since my husband lost his job two years ago. She used to study in a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) school. She writes the examinations at the end of every academic year. that is all we can afford."

A school administrator in Dubai's Al Quoz, who wished to be unnamed, said: "We face such issues often and it is common in all schools. We've had cases where families have not been able to pay the fees for six months to a year. In such cases, we draw up a flexible payment plan with the parent. For example, if Dh1,500 is outstanding, we ask the parent to pay at least Dh500."



Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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