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Abu Dhabi Filipino school’s fate still in limbo

ABU DHABI // More than 2,000 pupils at the 21st Century Private Academy are still waiting for classes to begin while their school remains closed four days into the new academic year.

On what was to be the first day of class on Sunday, several parents visited the Filipino school and were told by an assistant principal that classes were tentatively scheduled to resume in October.

“We tried to request written or formal information so we could hold on to it, but unfortunately she told us it should be coming from Adec,” said D P, a father of three.

When approached, the former assistant principal and the principal referred all queries to the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

“We haven’t heard anything from Adec regarding the start of the school year. About the concerns that we have about the payments, transfer from the old to the new operator, we haven’t had an official statement,” D P said.

Parents first learnt of the school’s temporary closure through a text message they received from Adec last month.

The message notified parents that the school was closed and a new operator would be assigned by Adec because the old operator, American Companies Management Group, had consistently failed to raise the school’s unsatisfactory standards.

The message also said “any payments to the old operator will not be counted towards 2015-2016 fees”.

Adec later said that parents should consider filing a lawsuit against the school’s former operator to recoup the money they had paid towards their children’s tuition for the academic year.

Some parents said they were optimistic the new operator would honour the proof of payments they had already made for the coming academic year.

“I’m hoping and praying that it will push through so that the burden is not on us any more,” said another mother.

M F, whose son will enter Grade 2 this year, said her questions had also gone unanswered.

“I called Adec two days back and they just told me to wait,” said M F. “I asked what’s the new operator, when are we going to start school? They said they didn’t know the date yet, but they would send us a message. So I’m just waiting.”

Visitors to the 21st Century Private Academy are being told to call the mobile phone of an employee who said he worked for the Philippine Global School, which he identified as the new operator of the 21st Century Private Academy.

“By next week, we will have a small meeting and give information to the parents and, inshallah, maybe after next week we will start enrolling the children,” said the employee, adding that parents would be notified of the meeting by email and SMS.

Asked whether the new operators would honour the fees parents had already paid to the former managers, the employee referred queries to Leticia Maniaul, managing director of The Philippine School in Dubai. Mrs Maniaul declined to answer questions about the 21st Century Private Academy.

“I don’t want to comment on anything because the situation is still in progress,” Mrs Maniaul said. “I will be the one to give information to everyone, but not in the newspaper.”

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(via The National)