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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 3 March 2021

Closure-threatened Pakistani school in RAK is given Dh150,000

Money will allow the school to continue to educate and has meant a wage increase for teachers who had not been paid for months.

DUBAI // A Pakistani school in Ras Al Khaimah that was on the brink of financial collapse and closure is looking forward to a brighter future after a donation of more than Dh150,000.

Renovations at the Pakistan Higher Secondary School are almost complete and, by the time the next school year starts, pupils will have new computers and a van to transport them.

“The community has really rallied around to help the school and the funding will make a huge difference to the children at the school,” said Haroon Malik, community welfare officer at the Pakistan consulate in Dubai.

“As well as the renovations and new equipment, we have also raised the salary of the teaching staff by 15 per cent, and we hope to do so again in future.”

It is a positive turnaround for the school, which was dealt a blow when its previous principal was alleged to have embezzled Dh180,000.

Staff have been unpaid for four months and the building was in poor shape.

“It was very important for us to improve the infrastructure at the school and bring it up to the standard required by the Ministry of Education,” said Mr Malik.

He praised Syed Bokhari, a Pakistani businessman who donated most of the money.

“The renovations are 98 per cent complete and we expect to instal 20 computers in a new computer lab,” Mr Malik said.

“We are also finalising the purchase of a small vehicle that can be used in narrow roads to transport pupils.”

The school, which is one of four run by the Pakistan consulate, teaches 650 children aged four to 18 and has 28 teaching staff and seven administrators.

It has been hit badly by poor funding in previous years, something the consulate is determined to change.

“The school has one of the lowest, if not the lowest, school fees in the region, at Dh250 per month,” said Mr Malik.

“But even with that we get about 25 per cent of people defaulting on their fees, and when that happens the burden falls on the consulate and the community to meet the shortfall.”

This makes it more difficult to recruit higher-quality staff or afford better equipment, he said.

The consulate has taken the former principal to court to recover the money he allegedly stole.

nhanif@thenational.ae

Published: June 17, 2014 04:00 AM

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