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       Dubai school's rebranding move catches parents off guard
 
         Posted on :19:55:58 Apr 18, 2012
   
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       Last edited on:19:55:58 Apr 18, 2012
         Tags: Dubai school, rebranding
 

DUBAI: Several parents, whose children study at Global Indian International School (GIIS) Dubai, have expressed concern over a change in identity announced by the school's management recently.

GIIS was launched in 2009 under a franchise agreement between Scoreplus Education and the internationally reputed Global Schools Foundation (GSF), which is based in Singapore and operates schools around the world.

On April 12 parents were shocked to receive a notice from the management, informing them about the rebranding of the school, citing an attempt by the franchiser to buy a controlling stake in the school, which the notice said the management has declined.

The notice also revealed that from the new academic year, which has already started, the Kindergarten section of the school will be rebranded as Ambassador Kindergarten and will be operated from a new campus. However, the main school will continue to run as GIIS for the current academic year and will be rebranded from April 2013.

"I was shocked to receive this notice out of the blue. Though it doesn't matter who is managing the school as long as it is doing well, but the change in name is a matter of concern. Today, they will change the name, tomorrow they will change something else, it reflects instability and I'm not sure I would want my child to continue at a school which is not stable," said a parent, whose daughter is a Grade 3 student at GIIS.

Many parents say that they opted for the school because of the reputation of schools run by GSF around the world, while it also provided a cheaper alternative to another Indian Certificate of Secondary Examination (ICSE) affiliated school, which was charging exorbitant fees.

"Why would I pay around Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 annually for a school which is new and has no reputation, I opted for GIIS because of the quality they offer and it is a reputed in name in the field of education around the world," said Anita (name changed on request), parent of a Grade 6 student at GIIS. The school has a strength of more than 1,000 students.

At least three parents, who spoke with Gulf News, said they are withdrawing their wards from the school, while a few said they will continue for now.

"I have decided to pull my child out of GIIS because I'm concerned that the changes it is undergoing might affect my child's education. Though, I am satisfied with the way my child has progressed over the last two years but I cannot take [a] risk on her future," said another parent, on condition of anonymity.

Kamal Kalwani, chief executive officer of Scoreplus Education, which operates GIIS under a franchise agreement, said that the quality and standard at the school would not suffer as the teachers, the management and the entire team that operates the school is going to be the same.

"In fact, it will be even better, because we are starting with a new fully dedicated Kindergarten school that is inspired by Regio Emilia and is equipped by state of the art facilities. We are retaining the same teachers and the same management. I assure parents that the school would continue to do well," Kalwani said.

When asked why the school is breaking away from the parent body of GSF, he said that the GSF was seeking a controlling stake in the school and the management decided against it after considering the wellbeing of the students and other aspects.

Clarification

In an emailed reply to Gulf News' query, the Global Schools Foundation (GSF) said: "The reasons stated by the GIIS franchisee in its letter of April 12, 2012, to parents for termination of the franchise are not correct. No binding offer was made by us to buy the school and the key reason is linked to franchisee's failed attempts to procure... [school land] from the regulators in Dubai and Abu Dhabi without the knowledge and official consent of the Singapore foundation. A letter of termination from GIIS was in fact being sent to the franchisee, and with this knowledge, the franchisee initiated this pre-emptive move."
Mohammad Darwish, chief of the Regulations and Compliance Commission (RCC) at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) clarified: "Ambassador Kindergarten is a totally new entity and all the regulations applicable to new schools are applicable to them. The fee-related regulations that apply to all new schools will also apply to Ambassador Kindergarten, that is, no fee increases for first three years, after which the KHDA's fee framework applies."

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