x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Abu Dhabi schools asking for utility bills baffles parents

Parents of all children in Abu Dhabi private schools have been asked to re-register with copies of their Emirates ID, passport, visa, and a water and electricity bill.

ABU DHABI // Parents in the capital are baffled by a request that children in private schools re-register and hand over copies of their identity documents ... and a utility bill.

Principals were told of the new requirement for continuing students at the end of last month by Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), and asked to collect the information - including Emirates IDs, passports and visas - by May 28.

Adec said the move was part of its new Student Information System, a database that will manage and track registrations, demographics, transfers and grades.

But getting the parents of 4,600 pupils who study at the Model School in Abu Dhabi to hand in documents before the deadline will be a challenge, said the principal, Abdul Kader.

"It is very difficult because the time is limited and there is a lot of paperwork involved," he said. "After we receive the information from parents, we have to fill it in online."

Mr Kader said schools were not told why parents had to supply proof of address in the form of a utility bill, but he assumed it was part of Adec's new private-school regulations.

"I believe it is part of their child-protection agenda," he said. "So they want the exact location of every child to develop an effective monitoring system."

Wayne MacInnis, principal of Raha International School, did not receive a reason either. "It is tedious to do it so quickly and has tied up my support staff," he said.

Ambreen Mohammad, whose children attend an American school in the capital, said it was "very random" to ask for such details. "It is a nuisance to hand over copies at such short notice," she added. "Asking for students' area codes? For what?"

Dr Lilly Tennant, whose two daughters attend the American Community School, said the process was causing concern among those who did not receive water and electricity bills.

"Some pay it as part of the rent or it is covered by the organisation they work for. This should be explained," she said.

Adec said parents who did not receive bills could hand in a copy of their Tawtheeq certificate, which is issued by the municipality.