Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013
Abu Dhabi: Six new Indian schools will offer around 15,000 seats in Abu Dhabi in the next two years, giving much-needed relief to parents of pupils whose villa schools are being closed down, a top Indian diplomat said here yesterday.
The Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has given an assurance that the interests of the pupils at villa schools will be taken care of, M.K. Lokesh, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said at a press briefing at the Indian Embassy in the capital.
Seven Indian schools operating from villas face closure, which will affect a total of 5,854 pupils but the new schools will offer around three times more seats, he said.
However the fate of a total of around 2,000 pupils in two schools that face closure by the end of this academic year is a concern, but Adec is already aware of this issue, the envoy said.
The ambassador met Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, director general of Adec, last week to discuss the issue. âI was very happy to know that Dr Al Khaili and Adec were already aware of the seriousness of the issue and working out solutions,â Lokesh said.
Dr Al Khaili said that the Abu Dhabi Government appreciates the contribution of the Indian community to this country and everything will be done to protect their interests, the envoy said.
The ambassador said that he requested Adec to give an extension to the two schools facing imminent closure.
As Gulf News reported, the Abu Dhabi Indian Islahi Islamic School, which has more than 1,300 pupils, and Little Flower Private School with 570 pupils will be closed down by the end of this academic year (2013-2014).
Although pupils can find seats in new schools that will be opened in the next two years, the fee structure in such private schools is also a concern for low- and middle-income parents, the ambassador said.
The average fee in most of those new schools will be between Dh10,000 and Dh13,000, whereas villa schools were charging lower fees, he explained.
âSo I think opening the branch of Abu Dhabi Indian School (ADIS), [a non-profit sharing school run by a board of governors of prominent community members which charges a low fee], is the immediate solution,â Lokesh said.
Adec had already given land to ADIS to open a branch at Al Wathba [on the outskirts of the city] but it was delayed due to unknown reasons, he said. The private school, Bright Riders, which was also given land at the same time, completed the construction and started operations this academic year, Lokesh said.
âIf the private school was able to do so, ADIS could have also opened its new branch by this time, which could accommodate 3,000 pupils.â
He said he has asked the board of governors to expedite the process and open the school before the next academic year. Adec has agreed to give all pending approvals to the school within two weeks, Lokesh said.
âI understand that finance is not a problem for the ADIS, so the embassy will put pressure on them [for opening the school],â he said.
By Binsal Abdul Kader Staff Reporter
Gulf News 2013. All rights reserved.
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