Sharjah schools can't raise fees randomly: Officials

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Sharjah schools cant raise fees randomly: Officials

Published: Fri 23 Sep 2016, 4:20 PM

Last updated: Sat 24 Sep 2016, 12:34 PM

Schools in Sharjah are not allowed to arbitrarily increase tuition fee, the Sharjah Educational Zone authority has said.
Responding to media reports referring to parents' concerns over the surprise increase of fee by a prominent private school in the emirate after the summer break, Sharjah Media Centre (SMC), quoting Sharjah Educational Zone, said that increase in tuition fee by schools in the emirate is approved by the authorities only if they meet certain conditions such as development of school infrastructure, the level of administrative, teaching and technical staff and the educational and social services provided by the school.
The implementation of these conditions by schools is strictly ensured and monitored with regular visits by supervisory committee of the Sharjah Educational Zone and the Education Ministry.
Wherever these criteria are not met and the fee hike is considered unjustified, action is initiated by the concerned authorities, said SMC, the media and communication arm of the Sharjah government. Similarly, schools could invite penalties including fines if they arbitrarily raise bus fee without the necessary approval of the Sharjah Educational Zone and the ministry, warned the SEZ officials.
Meanwhile, according to SEZ data, the number of schools in the emirate has gone up to 232, including 125 public schools and 102 private schools.
The new academic year saw the addition of five new private schools. With the beginning of new academic year, the SEZ has stepped up its efforts to implement the education ministry's plans for healthy educational practices in all Sharjah schools in order to create a positive educational environment in the emirate.
The SEZ has directed its teams to focus specially on the development of Arabic syllabus and material, working with schools that demonstrate lack of seriousness and interest in these materials.
During their regular interaction with schools, the SEZ authorities have also been emphasising the need for supervisors to accompany all buses and training them how to deal with students in different daily situations.
Schools have also been told to strictly adhere to gender segregation in buses and not allow male supervisors on girls' buses. The SEZ has also been working with schools to ensure school bus drivers drive carefully and avoid accidents and mishaps. Steps are also in place to ensure discipline and order in the emirate's schools avoiding situations that could potentially lead to violence among students or between students and teachers so as there is no violence.

Parents react

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Amna Khalid, a parent of a student in a private school in Sharjah, thanked SEZ for their action and support to the parents. She said: "Some schools adopt swindling methods to hike the fees indirectly, by increasing the prices of uniforms, books, transportation or ask fees for any others purpose.
We request the authorities to instruct schools that must not charge parents extra fees rather that the education fees permitted by SEZ."
Farah Bayoumi, another parent of a student, also appreciated the efforts of the SEZ in maintaining the system of education and supporting students. She urged the SEZ to look at issues like the student's psychological situation and not to discuss fees payment with them openly.
Official told Khaleej Times that parents are welcome at any time to lodge complaints against malpractices of schools, and their complaints will immediately be addressed by a specialised investigation committee that comprises education experts and professions.

By Afkar Abdullah

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