Sharjah: A new Indian school, G.D. Goenka Private School (GDGPS), is opening in Sharjah in September to initially enrol around 120-180 pupils from kindergarten to grade four, management said.
The school plans in the 2014-2015 academic year to open grades five and six, and possibly grade seven. It is to eventually open all other grade levels up to grade 12.
Tuition for kindergarten levels is Dh12,000 per year and Dh14,000 for grades one to four. The typical class size at GDGPS will be about 25 pupils per class, an official said.
School bus transport in Sharjah and neighbouring Ajman and Dubai will also be available for pupils as an optional paid service.
It is located in the Al Azra area of Sharjah, close to the Ajman border.
The school is the first overseas franchise of an 18-branch school chain run by the G.D. Goenka Group in India. It has been launched in Sharjah as an initiative of Gulf Petroleum. More schools are planned to be set up in the UAE under the brand.
The school will teach the Indian curriculum known as the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education).
Details of the initiative were revealed during the official inauguration of GDGPS on Sunday. Dignitaries present for the event were Sanjay Verma, the Indian consul general in Dubai, Dr Ebrahim Al Sa’ad, director of the Fujairah Statistics Centre, Lieutenant Colonel Jamal Al Tamimi, former director-general of the Sharjah Police, Dr Tiju Thomas, consul for education and economy at the Indian Consulate in Dubai.
When asked how GDGPS would compare to other Indian schools in the UAE, Mark Parkinson, executive director and head of schools, UAE, said: “No school can be better than the quality of its teachers. Our teacher recruitment is more vigorous.”
Candidates have to take a five-hour test, plus answer 15-20 questions in writing, he added. That is followed by a 40-minute interview and a group discussion as well. Also, a final panel interview is held before a teacher is hired. There is also a pre-service training programme for those selected.
“[Candidates] who don’t have the motives of the best of teachers will not be applying,” Parkinson added.
Verma congratulated the GDGPS staff on the occasion and encouraged them to instil a sense of community spirit in their future graduates.
“Elitist schools are producing an exclusive class of kids. Their dreams are set — fancy cars, fancy colleges, meeting celebs. They lack empathy. It’s a certain super class that doesn’t release the realities of poor countries,” Verma said.
“Without connecting to fellow human beings — that’s not a recipe for a better world.”