The manual is expected to provide clarity on existing regulations for private schools in Abu Dhabi and defines the rights and responsibilities of students, teachers, school leaders as well as investors/operators.
Parents can now be part of the school board, they can meet their child's teachers at least twice a year, visit their children's classrooms and receive regular reports on their child's progress. These are some of the policies underlined by the new private school policy and guidance (PSPG) manual — which came into effect in September this year. The manual is expected to provide clarity on existing regulations for private schools in Abu Dhabi and defines the rights and responsibilities of students, teachers, school leaders as well as investors/operators. The Arabic version of the manual is now uploaded on the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) website.
Key articles include curriculum, admissions, special needs education, extra-curricular activities, governance, student behaviour, internet security, teacher licensing and qualifications and professional and ethical code of conduct.
"One of the important policies, among many others, is a transparent approach to regulating tuition fees ensuring they mirror the quality of education offered, while giving parents/guardians enough time to pay fees in a timely and convenient manner,” said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, Director-General of Adec.
The manual explains a new payment/reimbursement mechanism for late starts and early exits from school, as well as, offers vital key policies for students such as directing schools to admit students with mild to moderate special education needs or disabilities.
The new policies also require schools to have boards of trustees that include parent and teacher representatives.
Private schools underwent extensive training starting September 2013 to familiarise them with the new PSPG, specifically on the policies on school transportation, health and safety, child protection, teaching quality, parental rights and tuition management.
"The diversity of school curriculum across the emirate of Abu Dhabi was highly considered while developing the regulatory framework … the principle of continuous improvement remains applicable to all. I encourage everyone involved with private schools to adhere to this policy manual for the benefit of students, parents, teachers and the community as a whole,” said Hamad Al Dhaheri, executive director for Private Schools and Quality Assurance.
Parents laud new policies
"It's about time that there's transparency in this regard and that we, as parents, can know what these are. We will be able to raise our issues now that we know our rights,” said Alaina Mendoza, mother of an 11-year old student.
"There have been lots of issues among private schools lately; I hope that this will provide clarity to everyone about their responsibilities especially when it comes to our children's safety, which is most important for us,” added another parent Sam Michael.
"Having a parent on the school board is very good as this will give us a voice. We will be able to raise our issues and at the same time, hopefully, we may have a say in how things are run at our children's school,” agreed Natalie, a student's mother.
Source: Khaleej Times