x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Ajman authorities give schools ultimatum

Education officials will close all villa schools in the emirate at the end of this academic year as part of a campaign against inappropriate school buildings.

AJMAN // Education officials will close all villa schools in the emirate at the end of this academic year as part of a campaign against inappropriate school buildings. And they have warned five overcrowded private schools that they face the same fate if they do not meet minimum national standards. Musa al Gharib, the head of the private schools section at the Ajman Education Zone, said villa schools' licences would not be renewed for the 2009-10 academic year.

Mr al Gharib said the five other schools were warned that they had too many students and not enough teachers. He said the decision to close the villa schools - schools housed in private villas - came after a recent meeting with Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid, the chairman of Ajman Municipality and Planning Department. A law was passed seven years ago requiring all schools in the emirate to be housed in suitable premises.

Mr al Gharib said the villa schools had been given enough time to move to more suitable buildings, and if they had not done so by the end of the school year there would be no extensions. He urged parents of villa school pupils to start looking for new schools. Mr al Gharib would not give the number of villa schools in the emirate, nor the number of students likely to be affected. At the start of this academic year, Sharjah Education Zone closed the last 13 of that emirate's villa schools, ending a gradual programme that began seven years ago.

Meanwhile, the head of a group of charitable schools in Ajman, Sharjah and Dubai, Dr Mohammed Robbin, announced that the tuition fees of up to 2,000 students would be waived. "We already have up to 300 orphan students receiving free education," Dr Robbin said. Those qualifying for the school scheme included children of divorced women, prisoners and low-income workers such as drivers and mosque attendants.

The group recently received school uniforms worth Dh800,000 (US$218,000) from the Mohammed bin Rashid Humanitarian and Charitable Organisation. ykakande@thenational.ae