Hundreds of parents yesterday called on authorities to resolve a crisis that has hit Rajagiri International School (RIS), located in Al Warqa here, attended by nearly 1,070 pupils.
A meeting between the school and the parents turned chaotic yesterday and police were called in, Gulf News has learnt.
According to parents, the Emirati owner of the school building and licence sold the school to another group to run, without the knowledge of the management, and this move in the middle of the academic year has jeopardised the quality of education imparted to the pupils.
Sources said the owner of the school sold the building after those who were running the school defaulted on their payments to him and the owner had obtained a court verdict allowing him to sell the property.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) is now investigating after a petition was filed.
RIS was set up in 2008 as a joint venture between the Rajagiri Province of the Catholic Religious Carmelites of Mary Immaculate congregation, India, who managed the academics, and Sudhir Gopi Holdings, who were the facilitators. The school was run on leased premises belonging to Ahmad Jaffla, according to the petition filed to KHDA.
"Parents as well as the current management were shocked to learn that the school has been sold to a new group. A circular said that due to some fiscal problems, the school management has been handed over from Rajagiri to the new group. This created a lot of doubts and uncertainty," a parent said.
In a letter addressed to KHDA, the Rajagiri school management said they were unofficially informed about the sale on November 9 by the building's owner. "We were never officially informed," the management said.
The new group went to the school and asked the senior staff to hand over the school documents to them, the letter reads. "According to them, it is their school and we need to get out."
The letter seeks the intervention and support of KHDA to continue the school in the same building until the end of this academic year.
"For parents, the news is sudden, shocking and outrageous since we have admitted our children based only on the school's long-term reputation back in India. We are totally in the dark and have no idea how to proceed further," the parents' council wrote to KHDA.
"Any change in the middle of the academic year would adversely affect the studies and activities planned for the year."
Dismissing allegations that he fled the city with school funds, the facilitator, Sudhir Gopi, said he did not misappropriate any school funds, but had invested Dh20 million over five years.
"The management was not even given one day's notice," he said, adding that he is in India now because he is not able to come to the UAE due to a case against him initiated by a person who lent him the money he invested in the school.
Parents were called in yesterday for an interactive session with the new group, a parent said, adding that police were called after one parent shouted but he was let go later.
Gulf News was not allowed to enter the school premises yesterday morning. The school — from kindergarten to grade five — was rated as good by KHDA during the school inspections in the past two years.