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20 May 2024

KG quotas: Siblings? Where you stay, work...

By Sneha May Francis

Getting your child enrolled in a school roll call is becoming more challenging than what most parents anticipate.

It’s not enough that parents meet the schools’ admissions deadline.

In fact, good time management skill is just one of the many factors that determine whether your child will eventually secure a school admission or not.

Many UAE schools turn away new applicants because they prioritise admissions to siblings of students already enrolled in the school.

A reputed British curriculum school in Al Nahda claims that admissions for their kindergarten class for 2013-14 was closed without offering admission to ‘new students’.

“We could not take applications from new students. We could only accommodate siblings of our [existing] students,” informed the school’s administrator. The staff, however, did not wish to be named.

A call to an ‘outstanding’ Indian school confirmed that they gave preference to siblings of current students of their school.

“Everyone can apply online but preference is given to siblings of our students,” added the officer. She did not wish to be named either.

Many parents who’d taken the time out to file applications for their first-borns were visibly gutted by this trend.

“Why would they ask us to send in applications when they have no space for new students?” asked Abraham, an Indian parent seeking admission for his three-year-old son.

“How does this ensure a healthy mix of students? Shouldn’t schools allot a percentage of seats for siblings and new students?

“Why is my child denied the chance to enrol in a good school? This is unfair.”

“Does this mean we have to resort to home-schooling till we find them a place in a good school?” asked another parent.

Although this practice is not uncommon in UAE, there are many parents who endorse this rule.

Some, in fact, bank on this policy for their second-borns.

“My son is attending Grade 2 in an American school, and I am sure my younger daughter is guaranteed a seat when she starts in September this year,” says one parent.

“In fact, I have not looked at other schools for admission only because I know she will get a place in her brother’s school.”

Apart from the bloodline, in some cases, where you live also determines your child’s school admission.

A parent, on condition of anonymity, told Emirates 24|7 that certain community schools prefer residents of adjoining areas.

“My son’s school does give preference to applications from students living in the Springs, Lakes, Meadows and Emirates Hills area,” she informed.

“A student living in JLT will obviously miss out due to the location of his residence.”

That’s not all, where you work will also govern where you child studies. Some schools reserves seats for employees of certain companies.

Clearly securing admission for your child is far more complicated and challenging than you’d ever imagined.


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