Four villa schools in the Capital will be shut down by the end of this academic year, affecting a total of 3,980 students. Al Dhafra Private School (American/British curriculum), Al Manara Private School (Ministry of Education), Al Taawan Private School Branch (British) and Al Talae’e Private School (MoE) will cease operations by June and July, according to the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC). Now there are 37 villa schools left, out of the 72 in 2009, 32 of which have committed to constructing their own school buildings. The ADEC has planned to shut down all schools operating out of residential premises by 2013. The 1,100 students of Al Dhafra in Muroor will be given priority to relocate to its new school in Mohammad bin Zayed City for the next school year while students from Al Manara, also in Muroor, have the option to move with their school to a government school building (formerly Al Qemma and Omair bin Yousif) in Baniyas. Students from the Al Talae’e Private School, meanwhile, will be offered placements at Al Manara in Baniyas and the new Yas Academy which will operate from a government school building (formerly Al Kindy) in East 18 of the Abu Dhabi island. Students from all schools have till June 28 to confirm their seats.Al Taawan (Sherwood Academy in Mushrif) has also arranged with another private school to accept all of its students. According to the ADEC regulation, affected students will not pay more than 20 per cent of their current fees at the new schools. ‘ADEC has made excellent progress in working with owners of villa schools to align their schools with the government’s strategy,” said Engineer Hamad Al Dhaheri, executive director of ADEC’s Private Schools and Quality Assurance Sector. As assistance to villa school owners and support students, the ADEC has allotted government school buildings as temporary replacement schools, provided villa schools can guarantee the construction of their new building. The Council has also allocated lands for schools at low-cost rent. But the ADEC was firm that villa school owners fulfill their commitments and that they “must work hard to meet all of ADEC’s licensing requirements without any delay and complete construction as quickly as possible once all necessary approvals are obtained,” urged Al Dhaheri.