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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Plea to help 175 Pakistani pupils in UAE continue their education amid unpaid fees

The children were pulled from classes because of non-payment of school fees and could now miss vital final exams.

DUBAI // The Pakistani community is being urged to help 175 pupils from poor families to continue their education.

The children were pulled from classes because their school fees had not been paid and could now miss crucial final exams.

The Pakistani Association Dubai said Dh800,000 was needed to pay outstanding fees owed to 17 schools across Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman.

“A large number of Pakistani students are being kept out of school or are barred from taking final exams due to unpaid fees,” said Dr Faisal Ikram, secretary general of the association.

“We request for the Pakistani community to come forward and contribute to keep their dreams alive.”

Shahid Ul Islam, senior executive member of the group, said the students’ plight showed the urgent need for free Pakistani curriculum schools.

“We need to open a free education school on an urgent basis to cater to such students who cannot pay fees,” Mr Ul Islam said. “With the rising cost of living and job losses, lots of families are unable to pay school fees.”

He said school fees were often the first costs to be cut when the household budget tightened.

“Most of these families cannot go back home because they are born and brought up here and have lost all connection back in Pakistan, while the rest don’t want to send their families and children to Pakistan because of security issues,” Mr Ul Islam said.

He said the association had approached the Pakistani business community for help on many occasions but no one had come forward with a long-term solution.

“The sustainable solution is to open a school for such children. One-time charity will not solve the problem,” he said.

Shagufta, 40, hasn’t paid her two children’s school fees for more than a year.

“My daughter is in Grade 9 and my son in Grade 5. I only earn Dh1,700 every month,” said Shagufta, a driver. “For me paying the room rent and running the kitchen is more important than school fees.

“But I can’t leave my children uneducated. They are my future. Me and my children live in a bad condition. We often don’t have money to eat. We usually get food from a local charity.

“I am suffering because I didn’t get a proper education. I don’t want my children to suffer by being uneducated.”

akhaishgi@thenational.ae

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