Sharjah schools are not ‘above the law’, regulator warns

The warning comes after inspectors found an increasing number of violations including unlicensed teachers and buildings, and the detention of children over unpaid fees.

SHARJAH // Schools in Sharjah have been warned that they are not above the law after inspectors found some with unlicensed teachers and buildings, no bus attendants and children being detained because their parents had not paid school fees.

Inspectors who visited 14 of the emirate’s 96 private schools also found that parents were being charged excessive sums to place children on a school waiting lists.

“No school is above the law,” said Hessa Al Khaja, head of special and quality education at Sharjah Education Zone. The regulator receives about 20 complaints a month, and responds with fines and warnings where appropriate.

Private school principals say inspections improve education standards. “It’s always a good exercise to have someone come and look at what you do and see how you can improve,” said Dr Roderick Crouch, principal of the Victoria International School of Sharjah, where the Ministry of Education completed its accreditation inspection yesterday.

“If we believe in lifelong learning for the students, we believe in lifelong learning for the school.

“We’d be expecting to finish with distinction as this is a really well-run school. We welcome the opportunity for external bodies to look at the quality of what we do.

“Our school has mentored government school principals and teachers. I think it’s really important that, as a school, we undergo all the processes required and get that external validation.”

Delhi Private School has not been inspected, but principal Vandana Marwaha would welcome any review. “It is important and it keeps us on our toes,” she said.

“We are all conscious of what we are doing, but it does help, as long as the purpose is to improve. The ministry has been very supportive.

“In fact, I have always given them a lot of credit for vigilance because they are like mentors and guides. When schools cross the line, they take it up and they discuss it. We have had very healthy relations and they do advise us correctly. I don’t hesitate to approach them if I have a problem.”

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Published: May 7, 2014 04:00 AM

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