x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

No reprieve for six unsafe villa schools with 2,300 pupils

Six villa schools ordered to be closed will not be given time to address health and safety issues, municipality says.

The Pioneers International Private School is one of the villa schools facing closure.
The Pioneers International Private School is one of the villa schools facing closure.

ABU DHABI // Six villa schools ordered closed will not be given time to address health and safety issues. The municipality made the decision in spite of a request from the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce that the schools be given a grace period, a municipal official said yesterday. The schools - Pioneers International Private School, the Azhar Palestine School, Al Sahaba Private School and KG, Al Mashreq Private School, the Cultural Private School and the Coast Private School - will be closed in June as planned.

"These schools revealed a major risk on health and safety of the students and there will be no grace period," Maitha al Qader said. "All decisions have been made in co-ordination with Adec." Representatives from the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) could not be reached yesterday for comment. The municipality announced the closures last week, citing unlicensed construction, failure to carry out regular maintenance work, overcrowding, electrical and fire hazards, structural instability and unsanitary conditions.

The 2,291 students at the six schools have been offered places at two new schools to open this autumn; one will be in downtown Abu Dhabi and the other in Bani Yas, a 40-minute drive away. Though Adec has not yet announced who will operate the new schools, they have said that they will have the same low fees as those they are replacing. One will offer an English medium curriculum and the other will run the Ministry of Education curriculum.

Five of the villa schools offer the Ministry of Education curriculum, and one runs the Filipino curriculum. Parents complained last week that the education council had not given them enough notice of the closures or provided sufficient information about the new schools. Some expressed concern that the commute to Bani Yas was too long. Several Filipino parents said they did not want to send their children to a school that did not offer the Filipino curriculum.


klewis@thenational.ae