Coronavirus: Dubai school to close due to pandemic
GEMS Heritage Indian School will shut in March 2021, with pupils offered places at other schools
A school in Dubai has announced it will close in March next year owing to the impact of coronavirus.
GEMS Heritage Indian School said it deeply regretted the decision and would work to offer its 1,500 pupils alternative places.
Schools and universities across the UAE were closed in March as part of government efforts to help contain the spread of Covid-19.
The outbreak has had a major impact on the provision of education, with some job losses also resulting in pupils and their families returning to their home countries.
“It is with deep regret that GEMS Education has come to the decision to suspend all educational services at GEMS Heritage Indian School in March 2021," said Sir Christopher Stone, global chief education officer at the schools operator.
“The disruption we at Gems Education, and the entire sector, face today is entirely unprecedented. The reasons and pressures are many; and the truth is that it is incredibly difficult for anyone to predict every challenge we will face.
“The global pandemic has brought about a situation where we have had to carefully consider all options.
"As a result we are now having to make some extremely difficult decisions that we by no means make lightly – decisions that will enable to us to protect and safeguard the learning of thousands of students within our family, not just now, but well into the future.
“We wish to assure parents and students that Gems Heritage Indian School will continue to operate as normal until the end of the academic year (March 2021)."
Kalthoom Ali Salem, a committee member of Education Business Group which represents more than 100 private schools in UAE, warned in June that many schools faced significant disruption.
She said the non-payment of fees by parents following job losses, together with uncertainties over new operational costs, had put enormous pressure on operators.
Earlier this month, Rising School in Nad Al Sheba in Dubai, which opened in 2017 and offered the American curriculum, announced it would close on July 2.
Last week, Bukhatir Education Advancement and Management International, another school operator in the UAE, also announced the merger of two of their American schools in Sharjah.
Education experts in the country predict that the UAE's most expensive schools could take the biggest financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic, as parents look to make savings.
GEMS Founders Al Waha, the third branch of Gems’ and founders model which aims to provide quality education at affordable fees, was set to open in 2020 but plans were cancelled.
A GEMS Education spokesperson said: “Our two existing Founders schools in Al Barsha and Al Mizhar have proven very successful.
"In terms of the opening of a third branch in Al Waha, no official announcements have been issued to date and no students have been enrolled in the school.”
Updated: June 25, 2020 03:47 PM