x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Cleaner's dispute with schools leaves Ajman classrooms a mess

Ajman school children are sitting their exams in dirty classrooms because of a contract dispute between the school system and a cleaning company.

AJMAN // Pupils in 33 Ajman schools are sitting their exams in dirty classrooms because of a contract dispute between the school system and a cleaning company. The company, MBM, says it stopped work in the schools last week because its contract had expired. School officials accused the company of deliberately halting work during the midterm exams to strong-arm them into immediately renewing its deal.

Obaid Saif al Matroushi, the director of the Ajman Education Zone school system, called on the Ministry of Education to step in, adding: "We have other companies whose contracts have expired in 2008 but have agreed to continue cleaning until the end of the academic year." The director of one school said they had been forced to ask municipal workers to clean their classrooms because some of her pupils could not concentrate on their exams.

"We are grateful to the municipality officials who allowed their workers to help, they have always been of help in times of crisis," said Alia al Khatri, the director of Abu Hurairah Primary School. Nassim Abdullah, the head of the Khadija Girls Primary School, also urged the ministry to intervene. She also complained that MBM had supplied only five cleaners for two dozen classrooms, as well as administration blocks, laboratories and toilets.

The Minister of Education, Dr Hanif Hassan, visited several Ajman schools yesterday and said he would look take a closer look at the dispute. ykakande@thenational.ae