Expat students start leaving as exams are over

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Saudi Gazette

DAMMAM — International community schools in the Kingdom have received requests from a large number of students for transfer certificates (or school leaving certificates) as their first step in leaving the Kingdom for good.

“Applications for transfer certificates are in alarming proportions,” said the principal of an international school.

According to the management of the International Indian School in Dammam (IISD), every year 800 to 1,000 students apply for school leaving certificates after completing their senior higher secondary education. However this year, more than 3,000 students have sought transfer or school leaving certificates.

“More than 2,000 students are those who are leaving the school without completing senior higher secondary. They are leaving the school due to the extra burden of dependent’s fees on their parents,” said a member of the school managing committee who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Indian schools in Jeddah, Riyadh and Jubail have also received requests from a large number of students for school leaving certificates.

Similar is the case at Pakistani international schools and Philippines schools.

The dropout rate is so high that schools which had closed admissions had to re-open them.

IISD which in the past used a lottery system to accommodate students because of a huge rush had to re-open admissions this year because of vacant seats. It accommodated 600 students from Sunshine School which closed early this month. To bring in more students, the school even lowered the minimum age set for admission to kindergarten.

Parents of departing students say they are facing the worst dilemma of their life.

“If I send my children back home for studies then obviously I will have to send their mother too. That means I need to establish another home in India. It creates a huge economic burden for me,” said a frustrated Ghulam Ali, a father of four.

The exodus of expatriates because of the dependent’s fee has affected supermarkets, shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants, garment stores and jewelry shops.

“There has been a sharp decline in shoppers in the last six months,” said the manager of a hyper store in Dammam, who claimed a drop of nearly 20 percent in sales.

House rents have also come down as many buildings have put up ‘ijaar’ (to-let) signs.


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