MES Indian School is unlikely to get permission from the Supreme Education Council (SEC) for admitting new students this year too.
Hamad Mohamed al-Ghali, director of Private School at the SEC, told Gulf Times that the school has to start branch campuses to admit new students as the present strength of the school is beyond the permissible limits.
Many community members feel that it will aggravate the present scenario of shortage of seats in Indian schools in the country.
MES Indian School used to admit a large number of students every academic year, facilitating affordable education for the largest expatriate community in the country.
The SEC official pointed out that “MES has over 10,400 children and their capacity is only for about 5,400. It is double than the capacity allowed by the SEC. Therefore,we did not allow the school to admit new students last year. This year also, MES will not be granted permission to admit new students as we want to bring down the student population in the school to the permissible limits.”
Al-Ghali asserted that “Every child is our responsibility. We are responsible for the safety of the children. The General Directorate of Civil Defence is insisting on the safety of the campus. Therefore, we cannot allow more admissions in MES Indian School now.”
Over the last two years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of Indian expatriate families arriving in Qatar and this resulted in a massive shortage of places in the Indian schools. Even though SEC has given licence for new schools to operate, easing the admission issues in KG classes to a certain extent, the situation has not changed much, mainly on two counts.
Most of the new schools that have come up in the past couple of years are operational only at the KG and primary level. So, they are not providing relief to parents seeking admission at upper primary, secondary or senior secondary classes. Secondly, the new schools have started with higher fees which many of the Indian parents find unaffordable as most of them are in the low or middle income group.
An official of MES Indian School said that the school strength has come down significantly compared to last year. “We did not admit even a single child last year and therefore, there is a reduction in the total strength of the school. We are also looking for alternate options such as branch campuses. But the rents are very high and we cannot afford such premises with the present low fees.”
This has added to the woes of the parents, as many of them look for admission in MES for various reasons. Many of them cited reasons such as low fees and siblings studying in the school for seeking admission in the school.
One of the parents said: “MES charges the lowest fees among all the Indian schools. I cannot afford the fees in most of the Indian schools. Moreover, it is convenient for me to send all my children to the same school as it will help me schedule the daily routine.”
MES Indian School, the largest Indian school in Qatar, had recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Source : Gulf Times / Joseph Varghese