Abu Dhabi, UAE: The student population in Abu Dhabi’s public schools is growing at 10 per cent each year, which is greater than the seven per cent growth in student numbers recorded at private schools, education officials announced in the capital on Wednesday.
This growth rate is a result of the steady rise in the emirate’s population, as well as the stream of pupils who move from private to public education, said Humaid Abdullah, manager for student affairs at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC).
“The demand for public school seats is usually the greatest in new residential areas that have few private schools, such as Al Falah and Al Shamkha. The priority is to register Emirati students, followed by high-scoring expatriates,” Abdullah told Gulf News.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference held to announce the upcoming registration period in public schools for the 2017-2018 academic year. The ADEC, which regulates education in the emirate, also directly manages the emirate’s more than 250 public schools.
Nearly 10,000 new students are expected to register for admission this year, and the majority of them will be Emiratis. The registration period for Emirati pupils begins on February 19 and lasts until March 17, while expatriate pupils can register between March 19 and March 23.
In keeping with the ADEC’s strategies, expatriate students can make up only 20 per cent of every school’s student population, as well as 20 per cent of the students in each class. They must have 90 per cent or higher overall scores.
This year, expatriate parents will only be able to register for admission through the ADEC’s web portal. Emirati parents, on the other hand, can also visit schools to register their children.
Abdullah said Abu Dhabi’s public school system has room for about 135,000 pupils from kindergarten to Grade 12.
“Our new online system will let parents know within a matter of hours if their children have been granted a seat, or it will provide them with a list of other schools they may be able to opt for,” he added.
Officials also clarified that the minimum age requirement for children to enrol in KG 1 is four years before December 31, 2017, and six years for those who wish to join Grade 1. Children can only be admitted to public schools allocated for their area of residence.
Priority admission is given to Emirati children, children of Emirati mothers, children who hold diplomatic identification cards issued by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and orphans sponsored by Emiratis.
© Gulf NewsFeb 2017