x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Give schools money to improve facilities

School budgets will be changed under the strategy to "ensure that schools receive funds that address their specific needs to improve facilities".

School budgets will be changed under the strategy to "ensure that schools receive funds that address their specific needs to improve facilities". At present, budgets can be as low as Dh100,000 (US$27,000) per year, which, some principals say, is not enough to cover basic costs. Teachers' salaries and books are not included in the budgets. They are paid for directly by the Ministry of Education. The school budget is for buying supplies, computers, and other teaching aids.

Last year, principals from Ras al Khaimah petitioned the ministry for funding to pay for playground shades because school budgets were not large enough to cover the cost. One principal, who did not want to be named, said his budget of Dh100,000 was too low. He would support an initiative to increase budgets. "It can't be large enough," he said. "We have about 420 students in the high school. They have so many needs.

"If the ministry could increase the budget that would be very good. But they have given so much support. We used to have only Dh2,500 yearly, but when Sheikh Mohammed became the prime minister he increased it to Dh100,000." Money spent on education would always be money well spent, said the principal. "If you are spending money on education it is not lost," he said. "You are building the ministers for the future. So it's never lost if you pay for education."

Ministry officials could not be contacted to elaborate on the plan.

klewis@the national.ae