Schools 'can charge' reservation fee for seats.
By Joseph Varghese
The Supreme Education Council (SEC) has clarified that private schools can collect seat reservation fees from parents to ensure that they comply with their request for admission for their wards at the institutions concerned.
The money collected should be deducted from the school fees for the first term.
Several parents had raised the issue of seat reservation fees and wanted to know whether it was approved by the SEC.
This has been a concern among expatriate parents because in some private schools they had to pay a particular amount as fees for reserving the seat when they seek fresh admission for their wards.
Many private schools also take seat reservation fees from existing students to confirm that they are continuing at the same institution for the next academic year.
When contacted by Gulf Times yesterday, Aysha al-Hashemi, institute assistant director for Private Schools Affairs, Education Institute at the SEC said that parents used to approach several schools for admission and this created confusion in the entry process for some schools.
"Seat reservation fee is allowed but should be deducted from school fees after the completion of the admission procedure," the official said.
"Several schools have complained that parents reserve seats in many different schools for their children. This practice creates confusion in schools as all these schools end up reserving the seat for a single child," she said.
"To avoid this practice, schools have started collecting reservation fees to make sure about the number of students who will be admitted with them during a particular academic year. If a parent does not want the seat, the schools can offer it to other parents if they know it in advance," she added.
The recent guidelines issued by the SEC had not made any mention of this provision which had prompted some of the parents to raise the issue.
The new directives have done away with some of the more stringent rules and regulations that were prevalent for the admission procedure.
This has brought in greater convenience for parents and schools in the entire admission process. The new set of regulations is applicable from the current academic year.
Meanwhile, the Education Committee of Qatar Chamber (QC) has called on the SEC to allow schools that charge low fees to admit more students and give them adequate time to meet official norms as there is a great demand for seats in them.
During a recent meeting, headed by QC vice chairman and head of the education committee Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Tuwar, committee members agreed that such affordable schools, especially the Indian ones, were facing increasing challenges to admit more students.
"They should be given a more flexible timeframe and support to comply with the safety standards of the Civil Defence and allowed to admit as many students as possible until they manage to work out some permanent solutions," the committee felt.
In particular, the committee discussed the issue of the MES Indian School, which is facing difficulties such as a total ban on admissions, particularly in the lower classes. The school has been asked to reduce its student numbers from 11,000 to about 5,000.
"This will cause a major challenge for the school in the long run. Though officials from the SEC have conducted field visits and taken some measures to help them, more practical steps should be taken to help the school," the committee members stressed.
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