Pakistan community school in UAE faces possible closure

Pakistan community school in UAE faces possible closure

DUBAI - Hundreds of Pakistani students' future is at stake as the only community school in Fujairah faces a possible closure unless they get a new building by mid-2019.

Around 480 students are enrolled in the Islamia Higher Secondary School, while another 150 are awaiting enrollment; but the Ministry of Education, Fujairah Zone has currently banned all enrollment until the school is upgraded to a concrete building from its current port-a-cabin, Khaleej Times has reported.

The ministry has given the March 2019 deadline for the building to be completed. "Dh6 million is needed for the new building," said Captain Asim Khalil, Middle East coordinator for Overseas Pakistanis Commission (OPC) of Punjab, under the Pakistan government.

They had received complaints regarding the school, but nothing was done for years, Captain Khalil said. "The school is in a miserable state and despite promises of funds from the community, nothing has been forthcoming," he said.

The coordinator has now prepared a report for the Pakistan government and has also briefed the Pakistan ambassador to the UAE and the consul general, to come up with a solution. "We will be getting funds from the government and hope to have the school building completed before deadline," he told Khaleej Times.

The school has 23 teachers on its payroll and has 8 other staff members. Its closure would affect the future of several hundred children, said Khalil Buneri, a social worker who has been vocal on the issue for a while.

The school caters to the 150,000-strong Pakistani community resident in Fujairah, Dibba and Khorfakkan.