Parents who pre-paid 2015/16 school fees to the now-defunct Twenty First Century Private Academy in Abu Dhabi have been given a glimmer of hope from the newly appointed Philippine ambassador- Constancio Vingno Jr.
Vingno told The National, the embassy would use, “all tools of diplomacy” to help the hundreds of parents who are currently out of pocket, since the school's closure.
While almost all the school's students have been re-enrolled at the re-opened school- now under new management and called the Philippine Global School, the pre-paid fees which are believed to amount to approximately Dhs 2 million, have yet to be refunded.
“For us at the embassy, our role is to find a win-win solution here,” said Vingno who hopes to be part of the mediation process between the old operator American Companies Management Group, and the out-of-pocket families.
“I will try my best to help them, rest assured, I will not leave them hanging. I feel for them. I’m a parent, too,” he said.
ADEC first alerted parents at the 2000 student- Twenty-First Century Private School back in August that the school would be ‘temporarily’ closed via a text message.
Later in September 2015, it became apparent that the school would not be opening under the original management company, but by this point, many families had already paid their school fees.
Vingno said, “many parents paid in full, some the tuition fees, some the reservation fees so they paid, in other words, not knowing that the school would be eventually closed.”
A further ADEC text message later the same month, told parents that a new operator had been assigned to the school due to American Companies Management Group’s failure to raise the school’s standards.
Parents at the school say the same message also stated that all fees paid to the previous operator would be counted towards the 2015-16 fees.
While most students re-enrolled with the same school neither the new management company nor American Companies Management Group have confirmed if indeed the pre-paid fees will be accepted by the new management company.
According to the National, parents at the school say ADEC suggested they consider filing a lawsuit against the school’s former operator to recoup the money they had paid towards their children’s tuition for the academic year.
“We looked at the law but the case at hand does not fall within the mandate of the law,” Vingno said. “There are instances, like a legal assistance fund for murder, where you have to provide a lawyer for the defence.
“This one does not fall under those. The most that we could do is conciliation and this is what we are doing.”