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Roundtable with parents and Dubai schools proves an education
Dubai schools justify the need for the 'infamous' 500 dirham processing fee...
March 26, 2013 6:09 by Muhammad Aldalou
Chaos of waiting
One of the more prominent points brought up during the discussion was the lack of proper organisation when it comes to waiting lists that schools refer to. For one, the school representatives present agreed – while we all nodded our heads in unison – that as a step towards transparency, the KHDA needs to enforce a regulation whereby waiting lists should be digitally published and made publicly available to parents.
We all agreed that many schools in the emirate are aware of their limited seating and yet still take applications into consideration. They pocket the processing fees all the while knowing that the chances of admission are slim to none.
In conclusion, the idea of the KHDA stepping in with a regulatory system is an appealing one. For now, they regulate the Educational Cost Index, govern schools on fee hikes and perform inspections (which we all also agreed should be random and not planned as it negates the purpose). What parents would like to see happen is for the authority to set a specific period (12 months for instance) before an academic year where only then can applications be accepted.
When a parent decides on a school a year or two in advance, the last thing they need to hear is that they’re still two or three years too late. Many schools in Dubai are currently fully reserved until the academic year 2017 and some of the guest representatives today said that that could partly relate to the ratings that schools receive from the KHDA.
Only 11 schools in Dubai were rated as ‘outstanding’ last year, and naturally, all parents want to send their children there. Jonathan Price (Jebel Ali Primary School) stresses that parents need to stop relying on this one label to make up their minds because the criteria upon which a certain school is ‘applauded’ might not be relevant for you. A ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ school may have received that rating based on facilities that a parent would deem unimportant but are ‘outstanding’ in other areas.
Ultimately, while we wait and hope for the KHDA to regulate this chaotic process of admissions, it’s vital for parents to do their own research, read through the reports and decide what’s best for them (and their child).