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M A Lateef, Chairman, MS Group of Schools, said so far over 200 students, mostly girls, who have returned from Saudi, have been given admission. “Parents are saying that living in Saudi Arabia with families is becoming increasingly expensive, so many of them are sending them to India,” Lateef said.
Authorities of many other schools concur with Lateef. They said this year there is a marked spurt in admissions of Gulf NRI children, especially from Saudi Arabia.
The head of another chain of schools, Springfield, reported admission of over 150 Gulf NRI children. Humaira Hyder believes that the admissions would continue for a few more weeks. “In fact, we are expecting more students. The parents are in disarray. They say they have little or no savings. Getting education is a priority which cannot be put off,” Hyder said.
Mohammad Ziauddin Nayyar, a social activist who is associated with a number of schools in the city, said, “What is going on is forced separation of families which will have a negative impact on the social and economic fabric.”
“We have reports that more numbers of students from Saudi Arabia are visiting schools in Hyderabad. Their first preference is schools which follow CBSE system. Most admissions are being sought in schools located in Asifnagar, Mehdipatnam and Tolichowki areas,” Fazlur Rahman Khurram, president of Private Schools Management, said. Khurram himself runs a school called Dawn in Malakpet.
Nearly 30 lakh Indians are engaged in various sectors in Saudi. Of these, people from Kerala form the largest chunk of 40%, followed by 20 to 25% from Telangana. The remaining Indians are from states such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. From Telangana, the most number of NRIs are from Hyderabad, Karimnagar and Nizamabad.
Mohammad Baquer, another social activist who returned to Hyderabad a few months ago after over three decades of stay in Saudi, said the Saudi government has started levying fee on various services it offers to expatriate population. The most cumbersome is ‘Residence Fee’ that is now being charged per person annually as against per family earlier. Therefore, bigger the family, more expensive it is to stay. “There is no way for an averagely paid worker to keep his family as he has to pay house rent, meet expenses of food, provide education and also pay new levies,” he said.
Lateef said since it is a distressed situation for the NRIs, he has begun to offer concessions. “If other schools also waive off admission and other fee, it would help the Gulf returnees tide over the difficult times.”
Meanwhile, Baquer said it is time for Telangana government to step in and help the Gulf returnees and their children.