In the following article Maroun Abou Harb writes for Economy Middle East about understanding the legal aspects of education rights.
Education is an essential and fundamental right for every child, and parents have the right to ensure their children receive a proper education within a safe and nurturing environment. Recognizing the importance of this right, the United Nations has taken steps to protect and uphold education as a basic and core right for individuals worldwide. In this article, we will delve into the legal aspects concerning education in the UAE, including the right to education, oversight committees, dispute resolution, students’ rights, and the available legal recourse in case of incidents.
The right to proper education and disputes
The right to education is firmly protected under Article 16 of the UAE Constitution, reflecting the nation’s steadfast commitment to providing free education at all levels and enforcing compulsory primary education. The UAE’s legal framework places significant emphasis on ensuring the highest quality of education, and parents have the right to ensure that their children receive an education that meets the prescribed standards.
Should any concerns arise regarding the standard of education, curriculum, teaching methods, or facilities, parents have recourse to Chapter 7 of Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 on “Child’s Rights“. This law not only upholds children’s right to education but also establishes mechanisms for resolving disputes concerning the welfare of children.
Governmental and private sector oversight committees
The Ministry of Education in the UAE plays a pivotal role in overseeing the educational system and implementing policies to improve the quality of education. It conducts regular inspections of schools to assess their adherence to regulations, teacher qualifications, and curriculum standards. In addition to this, the Commission for Academic Accreditation in the UAE ensures that educational institutions uphold high standards and fulfill accreditation requirements.
Rigorous oversight also extends to private schools in the UAE. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority oversees private schools in Dubai, while similar educational authorities exist in other emirates. These organizations consistently evaluate schools’ performance and conduct inspections to ensure a commitment to maintaining educational excellence.
Rights of parents and students in disputes
UAE law provides various avenues for parents and students to address disputes related to education. Parents can raise concerns with the school’s management or escalate issues to the relevant educational authorities. If disputes remain unresolved, they have the right to seek mediation or legal assistance to address the matter formally.
Moreover, the UAE Cybercrime Law (Federal Law No. 34 of 2021) plays a crucial role in safeguarding students and parents from online abuse and harassment, particularly addressing cyberbullying within the educational sphere.
Rulings against bullying and sexual misconduct
Bullying and sexual misconduct are treated with utmost gravity under UAE law. Educational institutions are obligated to establish comprehensive anti-bullying policies, and their faculty and staff undergo specialized training to identify and address such behavior. In the event of any bullying incidents, schools are required to conduct prompt investigations and apply appropriate disciplinary measures against the wrongdoers.
Sexual misconduct, particularly involving minors, is regarded as a serious criminal offense according to UAE law. Perpetrators can be subjected to severe penalties, such as imprisonment and fines. In order to prevent and respond to cases of sexual misconduct, schools are compelled to enforce stringent child protection policies.
Legal recourse for lack of security measures
The UAE places great importance on the safety and security of students. If an incident occurs due to the lack of proper security measures, parents have the right to seek legal recourse against the school or relevant authorities for negligence.
The UAE Civil Transactions Law imposes a duty of care on educational institutions to ensure the safety of their students. In case of any harm caused due to a breach of this duty, parents can pursue legal action to claim compensation for damages.
Mandated preparedness for emergencies
UAE law mandates that educational institutions maintain comprehensive emergency preparedness plans to handle a range of potential crises, such as fires, storms, earthquakes and other hazards. Schools are required to conduct regular drills, enabling students and staff to practice appropriate responses in various emergency scenarios.
Moreover, local civil defense authorities play a vital role in collaborating with educational institutions to ensure that schools meet all necessary safety standards and implement appropriate measures to safeguard students during emergencies.
In the UAE, education is not only a fundamental right protected by law but also enshrined in the Constitution. Parents have the right to ensure their children receive a proper education, which is monitored and maintained by various oversight committees in both government and private schools. The UAE’s laws take a firm stance on critical issues such as bullying, sexual misconduct, and negligence concerning students’ safety. With these robust legal protections in place, parents can have peace of mind, knowing that their children are provided with a safe and enriching educational experience in the UAE.
The original article can be read here: The right to proper education and dispute resolution in the UAE.
This article was written by corporate lawyer Maroun Abou Harb and focuses on education rights.
BSA is a regional Law Firm in the Middle East with offices in the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia. As a full-service law firm our practice areas include litigation, arbitration and corporate services, including M&A, banking & finance, Intellectual Property, TMT, Fintech, employment and insurance.
Published on 23 August, 2023.
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