Oops!! Dispute between school management and sponsor leaves parents in quandary
Abu Dhabi: Parents of over 1,200 pupils studying at Ryan Private School, an Indian curriculum school in Musaffah here, had a sleepless night on Monday after receiving conflicting messages about possible disruption of school operation.
“We received an email from the school around 8.30pm, saying the owner has taken over the school and the Ryan Group [the management] has ceased to be the operator of the school,” a parent told Gulf News.
The email further said Ryan International School in Masdar City, owned and operated by Ryan group, was ready to enrol the students.
However, the parents received a text message within an hour from the school contradicting the email saying the school would operate as usual and asking parents to visit the school on Tuesday for further clarification.
“We were shocked and confused, and immediately called up teachers and staff whom we knew. But they did not have any idea about what was going on,” said another parent.
Paramjit Ahluwalia, the school principal, told Gulf News that he had not been having access to the school’s email for the past two weeks and the email was sent out without his knowledge. He said he sent the text message in consultation with the owner.
“We received around 1,000 parents at school today and explained to them that the school would operate without any disruption,” he said on Tuesday.
Esmail Al Khoury, the school owner, told Gulf News that there was a conflict between him and the Ryan Group, which caused conflicting messages being sent out to the parents. He said the school would operate as usual but with a different name and he has approached the authorities for completing necessary official procedures.
The parents said they were relieved to get assurance from the owner and principal. “However, we can be sure when we get a written assurance only,” said a parent.
Al Khoury said an email would be sent to parents on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Collins, chief operating officer at Ryan International Group, said in a statement to Gulf News: “Ryan is no longer the operator of Musaffah School. We understand that the school’s sponsor is looking to continue operations with some of the staff under a different name. At this point in time, we have no visibility on his plans for the school or the curriculum or accreditation he may offer. The welfare of our students is our primary concern and we understand that parents may be keen to continue their children’s enrolment under the Ryan Group brand, so we are working with the authorities concerned and parents to ensure disruption is minimised and parents who want to continue their children’s education with the Ryan brand are accommodated at our Masdar campus, where feasible, at no additional cost,” he said.
The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), the school regulator in the emirate, was not immediately available for comments