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Filipino school to remain open, lawyer says

The New Kuwait-Philippines International School

The New Kuwait-Philippines International School

KUWAIT: The New Kuwait-Philippines International School (NKPIS) will continue their activities and operation at its current location until 2016, a lawyer for the school told the Kuwait Times. This follows an official pronouncement from the Ministry of Education, published in local newspapers yesterday, that the school must evacuate government-owned premises in Jleeb Al Shuyoukh no later than March 31, 2015. According to Osama Karam Sayed, Legal Consultant of Om Al-Qura Educational Establishment, however, the school will continue its operation through 2016. “Initially and verbally we were already informed that we can continue to operate at our current location up until SY 2015-2016,” Sayed said, noting that an official court ruling to this effect is due on 11 January. The Ministry of Education-Private and Qualitative Education Sector also noted in its pronouncement that the Filipino school would also be barred from enrolling students for the 2015/2016 year. But the school’s lawyer, Sayed said that this too will be reversed and that enrollment for the coming school year has already begun.

Land dispute The issue is one of land. Though a private, for profit school, it currently occupies the premises of the Hassan Bin Thabit Kindergarten and the Ministry of Education wants it back. In 2008, the school was informed that it would have to vacate the premises. But then in April 2011, the school says a deal was reached with the ministry and the school was allowed to remain. “In fact for us to be assured and so that our mind will be settled, I asked them to provide a black and white letter about the said statement (they no longer need the land), I got the letter from them in November 2012, but the letter agreement expires on March 31, 2015,” the lawyer explained. “Now, the court decision we are waiting for will be announced January 11, 2015. It is like a renewal of their previous commitment to us. Thank God, I already got the verbal assurance on the matter and they said we can operate up until 2016. Perhaps even beyond 2016, it will be like that, we only have to apply for the extension of the same agreement,” Sayed said.

Good thing “The good thing about the problem we are facing is that it is not related to curriculum or academic issues, but merely about the land,” said the school’s principal, Jesusa V Puno. “I trust our CEO, the owner of NKPIS, since they are Kuwaiti and they know what to do next. Until 2016, we still have time, but my personal concern now is the anxiety created by this news to our parents, I hope they won’t be affected and that they continue to entrust their children with us,” Puno stated. Established in 1999, the New Kuwait Philippine International School (NKPIS) is a private school owned by the Om Al- Qura Education Est and has a student body of more than 750 students and around 50 teachers and staff.

It was established to provide affordable and quality Filipino-centric education in Kuwait and received a permit from the Kuwait government in 2004. “In the event that we are forced to transfer or relocate, we’ll do that, our owner expresses readiness to do so and we are prepared (to transfer) at anytime. The company owns about 14 educational establishments in Kuwait, so (parents) don’t be affected by the news, things will be okay and we shall overcome this situation once again,” Puno added.

By Ben Garcia

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This article was published on 05/01/2015