Six new Indian schools are to open in Abu Dhabi in the next two years after education authorities in the UAE capital shut down a number of private Indian schools for violating land use norms.
India's Ambassador M.K. Lokesh said that the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has given an assurance that the interests of the students of the Indian schools facing shut-down would be taken care of, the Gulf News reported Wednesday.
Seven Indian schools face closure after the ADEC launched a drive against villa schools or schools that are run pivately on residential plots. The closure of these schools will affect some 5,854 pupils.
However, the new schools that are to be opened will offer around 15,000 seats, news that brings some relief to the parents of the affected students. Lokesh said the fate of around 2,000 pupils in two schools that face closure by the end of this academic year is a concern. According to the report, the ambassador met Mugheer Al Khaili, director general of ADEC, last week to discuss the issue.
"I was very happy to know that Dr Al Khaili and ADEC were already aware of the seriousness of the issue and working out solutions," the report quoted Lokesh as saying. ADEC this year ordered the closure of two Indian schools, Abu Dhabi Indian Islahi Islamic School and Little Flower Private School, which have 1,300 and 570 students respectively, by the end of the current academic year.
Parents say, although the new schools will provide many seats, the fees will be higher than villa schools and will be out of reach for poor students. Lokesh said the average fees in most of the new schools will be in the range of 10,000 dirhams ($2,722) to 13,000 dirhams whereas villa schools were charging lower fees.
ADEC has already provided land to the Abu Dhabi Indian School (ADIS) to open a new branch at Al Wathba on the outskirts of the city. The Indian ambassador said he has requested the education department officials to expedite the process so that the school can be opened before the next academic year.