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Only one school in UAE is operated by Delhi Public School society, Chairman clarifies.

Summary: We are charging roughly only one per cent as franchise fee every year, he said.

Angel Tesorero

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The chairman of the Delhi Public School (DPS) Society has reiterated his earlier position that no school in the UAE should carry the brand name 'DPS', except for institutions that have acquired a franchise from the New Delhi-based non-profit educational organisation.

VK Shunglu Padmabhushan, chairman of the DPS Society, said at a Press conference in Dubai on Tuesday: "Our legal position is that the intellectual property name of DPS, any symbols associated with DPS, any acronym or anything suggestive of DPS is the property only of the society registered in India.

"It is not the property of anybody else and our stand is that mere registration (of the name) creates no right."

Shunglu was referring to two UAE-based schools bearing the popular acronym 'DPS' - Delhi Private School, Sharjah, and Delhi Private School, Dubai.

In June last year, as Khaleej Times reported, both DPS Sharjah and DPS Dubai did not renew their franchise agreement with the DPS Society. Both institutions sent out a circular to parents, claiming that DPS Society, a network of around 220 institutions worldwide, was looking for an increase in its franchise fee.

Both DPS Sharjah and DPS Dubai, established in January 2000 and February 2002 respectively, continued their operations under the registered trademark in the UAE as Delhi Private School, and a third school, DPS Ras Al Khaimah, is set to open in April 2020.

In an interview with Khaleej Times, Shunglu explained that as per the UAE law, non-government institutions are not allowed to use the word 'public'.

"So, with our knowledge and consent we entered into an agreement with the Delhi Private School LLC, Sharjah, for opening DPS Sharjah in January 2000 and DPS Dubai in February 2002," Shunglu said. "But Dinesh Kothari (the managing director Delhi Private School Group) decided not to renew the contract and the agreement expired in March 2017."

This resulted in the taking down of the DPS Sharjah and DPS Dubai from the roster of DPS Society-affiliated schools on its website. Shunglu, however, noted that Kothari still operates a school in Jodhpur under a franchise from the DPS Society.

Franchise fee

With regards to the franchise fee, Shunglu said that the agreement back in 2000 was $20 per student, based on the prevailing market valuation at that time. There was a "gradual increase" until it became $40 per student in 2017.

"Our franchise fee does not exceed between $30-$40 per student per year. I understand that the average fee at DPS Sharjah and DPS Dubai is around $3,000 annually. So we are charging roughly only one per cent (of school fees) as franchise fee every year.

"It was very minimal, almost the same as what we charge in Dhaka and Singapore. With the franchise fee, we provide the training ... of teachers. We add value as we have around 220 agreements internationally," he added.

Shunglu noted that education is a "specialised business". "If you see education only as a business, then you don't need our help. But if you think education is more than a business, then it requires collaboration with other academic institutions - and that is what we are promoting: Progressive education," he underlined.

Shunglu reiterated that Delhi Private School Ajman, which started operations in April 2017 and operated by Pace Group, is the only "authorised school" in the UAE to carry the brand name DPS.

Dr PV Ibrahim Haji, chairman of Pace Group and co-chairman of Malabar Gold and Diamonds, told Khaleej Times: "We are not trespassing in other's territory but for now we have the only franchise to operate and carry the name DPS legally."

Delhi Private School is a registered trademark: Dinesh Kothari

In a phone interview following the Press conference called by Delhi Public School (DPS) Society on Monday, Dinesh Kothari, managing director of Delhi Private School (DPS) Group, said: "Delhi Private School LLC is a registered trademark under which we are operating for the last 19 years. This is a registered trademark of Delhi Private School (DPS) Sharjah and Delhi Private School (DPS) Dubai.

"We had won a case in an Ajman lower court asking Delhi Private School Ajman not to use the name and now the matter is pending in the higher court," he added.

The groundbreaking ceremony for DPS Ras Al Khaimah was held on February 26 and the school is expected to open in April 2020.

Kothari said: "We are proceeding with the RAK project as Delhi Private School LLC. I can't comment on anything about Delhi Public School Society. He (Delhi Public School Society chairman V.K. Shunglu) is obviously speaking for his society where he is chairman."


Angel Tesorero

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Mar 5, 2019
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