ArabianBusiness.com - February 27, 2011
Abu Dhabi private schools now liable for abuse, rules council
By Karen Leigh
The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has issued a new child protection law ruling that the emirate’s private schools are liable to protect students from verbal, physical and psychological abuse.
The law will come into effect in the spring.
Under the new regulations, principals will act as guardians and accept the implications of that status while the child is in the school’s trust, whether it be on campus or in school-issued transport like buses.
“The school has to produce and implement a law for child protection against any assaults,” said Yousif Al Sheryani, ADEC’s executive director of Private Education And Quality Assurance.
“The regulations urge that should there be suspicion that a child has been subjected to such assaults, the event has to be immediately reported to the principal,” he said.
The principal will then be required to send a written report to ADEC within 24 hours.
Schools will be evaluated in the spring, and awarded three-year accreditation if their safety systems meet ADEC’s requirements.
Schools in Abu Dhabi – heavily populated by the children of Western expats – will be expected to respect the emirate’s moral standard.
“The school should work in accordance with the country’s values, morals, traditions and culture as it should commit not to engage in any activities that are contemptuous to religion,” he said.
The regulations also include new rules for school bus drivers and monitors, like certain advanced driving licenses. Many schools in the emirate, including the Raha International School, already have bus monitors, or ‘nannies’, and their own rules against bullying.
ADEC will also have the schools equip buses with cameras and GPSs to ensure maximum children’s safety while travelling, as buses are a notorious hotspot for school-age abuse.