Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 August 2019

Abu Dhabi nurseries told to display licences after string of 'illegal babysitting' premises found

Education regulator says parents need to ensure that facilities are operating legally

Parents are being urged to ask nurseries for their licences to help tackle those operating illegally. Amy Leang / The National
Parents are being urged to ask nurseries for their licences to help tackle those operating illegally. Amy Leang / The National

Parents must ensure the nursery their child attends is licensed before signing them up, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) has said.

Under Adek rules, nurseries must visibly display their licence to prove they have permission to operate.

Dr Sara Al Suwaidi, Adek's early childhood education licensing director, said it was of "pivotal importance" parents were given access to licencing details.

“All nurseries have been instructed to display their nursery licence in the reception area, visible to the eye for parents to see,” she said.

“Additionally, nurseries must renew their licence on yearly basis. They must start the process at least two months prior to the expiry date of their licence.”

The department licenses and monitors all nurseries in the emirate, including 194 with 10,776 children in Abu Dhabi and 43 with 2,681 children in Al Ain.

Last year, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department investigated 69 cases of illegal babysitting services, according to a report.

In one case, an illegal babysitter was questioned by police after a family found blood stains on the underpants of their child. Abuse charges were later dropped but the babysitter was fined Dh40,000 for operating without a licence.

Dr Al Suwaidi said a trained team visits nurseries frequently to ensure they comply with licensing, academic, health and safety requirements.

“We look forward to hearing that all preschoolers are prepared to move onto the next level of schooling, and this can only be done through a safe, secure, well-rounded licensed nursery that has qualified staff and a well-established curriculum," she said.

Licensing requirements include complying with capacity, safety and hygiene regulations. Nurseries must have a an established curriculum, hold medical records of children and have their fees approved by the education regulator.

Unlicensed nurseries are usually much cheaper than legal ones. Last year, one parent told The National she paid about Dh600 per month to send her daughter to a "home nursery" in Ajman rather than pay about Dh1,200 to 1,500 for a registered one.

In 2015, a Pakistani girl, 2, died after falling on her head in a nursery operated from the Dubai International City apartment of a woman, 31.

Updated: March 19, 2019 01:42 PM