MUSCAT: Hoping that their children’s studies will not be hampered, the parents of students at the Modern International School in Oman (MISO) are banking on the assurances from Indian embassy officials in Oman.
The Ministry of Education has told school officials they can no longer teach an Indian syllabus at the school, a move which affects more than 600 pupils.
According to the school, the ministry has stated in a notice to them that the syllabus on offer was an Indian course, not international.
“We met the Indian embassy official in Oman to discuss our children’s future. They have promised to take up the matter with the board of Indian schools to resolve the issue,” said a parent who attended the meeting with embassy officials.
Parents of some 600 students, studying from Class I till VIII at the MISO, had approached the embassy after they received a circular from the school stating it could follow only one programme, which is the American curriculum, and that it will be taught at the new campus.
The children were studying Central Board of Secondary Education (International) syllabus at MISO.
The circular issued by the school authorities on January 11 states, “Considering the developments of the last couple of days, we would like to inform you of our disappointment in what has happened, and also would like to assure you that we tried our best with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to convince them to let the school continue with the CBSE-I curriculum. But ultimately, they were just not convinced and instructed us to discontinue the curriculum.”
“Now, the school circulars say that they will seek another curriculum at the new campus. We are not sure about the new campus. At the current campus, they have put up a “to-let” board. We are afraid our children will not be able to continue studying in the school from the next academic year, onwards. Our only hope is with the Indian embassy and Oman’s Ministry of Education,” another parent mentioned.
On Saturday, worried parents had tweeted their grievances to Sushma Swaraj, the Indian External Affairs minister. On Saturday and Sunday, the Indian minister had retweeted the parents’ grievances, bringing the Indian embassy into the tweet loop.
Following the parents’ meeting, the Indian embassy tweeted to the minister, “The Embassy has already taken up the matter with the Indian school Board to resolve the issue.”
Meanwhile, the MISO Board of Directors said the Ministry of Education had asked them to discontinue CBSE-I because it is considered an Indian national programme, and not international.
“We understand the MoE has given similar instructions to three schools, including our school (two in Muscat and one in Salalah) who are running similar programmes. We also understand the MoE has instructed another international school, which is teaching a Canadian (Alberta) programme, to discontinue on similar grounds,” a representative from the MISO board of directors said.
The representative added that as part of transitioning, and to assure parents they had no desire to leave them, the students or teachers in jeopardy, the management had requested the MoE to allow it to conduct the year ending exam in March 2017, so that all students can be promoted to the next grade and a transfer certificate can be issued, if required.
The representative added the Indian School Wadi Kabir has conveyed its interest, in-principle, to take over the MISO, as it is, along with the students (except Omanis) and the teachers, subject to the approval of its board by the MoE.
“In any case, the Indian School Wadi Kabir has assured us that it will grant admission to all MISO Indian students,” he added.
However, parents said they are not aware of such a decision and have not received anything in writing.
“Many may not be willing to send their children to the Wadi Kabir campus, as it is far from Azaiba. We have to wait and see what the embassy will do,” a parent remarked.
Meanwhile, the principal of Indian School Wadi Kabir said he was not sure about the talks, which might have been held between the top-level managements of the two schools.
“We will be able to help those children who need admissions in our school. The final decision must come from the top-level management,” DN Rao, the principal of Indian School Wadi Kabir, maintained.
Director General of Private Schools Fatima Al-Noorani stated that the school was still open.
“The school is not closed, and is still working. It is still open for 2016-2017. I think the letter that was sent to the parents has raised a lot of questions from the ministry,” the official added.