Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Parents worry over withdrawal of Gems Education from Indian school

Most parents are concerned about maintaining Central Board of Secondary Education accreditation

Gems Education announces its withdrawal from an Indian school in Fujairah. Satish Kumar / The National
Gems Education announces its withdrawal from an Indian school in Fujairah. Satish Kumar / The National

Parents of pupils enrolled in Our Own High School in Fujairah say they are concerned standards will slip now that Gems Education has withdrawn from the school over a dispute with the property’s landlord.

They said they returned from holiday, having already paid tuition fees for this academic year, only to discover the school’s management would be changed.

“My son’s teachers haven’t been changed but there have been changes in management,” said Sirajudeen V, an Indian father of two. His son is a grade seven pupil at the Indian school in Al Faseel area.

“Our main concern is maintaining CBSE accreditation,” he said, referring to the Central Board of Secondary Education - a national level board of education in India. Under Gems Education, the school provided the curriculum.

“We know the British accreditation is confirmed but we don’t know if the Indian curriculum is still there,” he said.

If the school loses its CBSE accreditation, Mr Sirajudeen said it would be difficult to find a place for his son at the emirate’s two other Indian schools.

“There are around 3,000 pupils receiving their education at Our Own High School and we don’t have many options in Fujairah,” he said.

This week, Gems Education announced it would be withdrawing from the school, saying the ongoing legal dispute with the landlord made it impossible to operate it.

They said the dispute arose after negotiations over the terms of renewal of their long-term lease fell through. It led to Gems being unable to pay the teachers’ salaries in July.

“The professional licence of the school was unilaterally, and without our knowledge or consent, transferred into the name of the landlord in March 2018. As a result of these actions it is no longer possible for us to continue to operate the school from the current site,” Gems said.

On Thursday, an Indian parent who enrolled one of his two children in the school said he had heard rumours of the withdrawal for a while.

“We heard about it two months ago,” said Abduljaleel M, 42.

“It is a bit worrying but we didn’t notice any changes so far, only changes in the management team and teachers.

“The school said that everything will be going as usual and we just need to wait and see.”

Mr Abduljaleel said he would consider moving his son to another school if the curriculum was changed but worried about finding him a place.

The school opened as usual after summer on September 1.

Sources said that, since the announcement, the school has operated without the Gems logo. A meeting is scheduled for next week to give parents more information.

Updated: September 12, 2019 05:40 PM

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