Surprise as Indian High School CEO Replaced

The Indian High School in Dubai has replaced its longstanding CEO Ashok Kumar, after 23 years of service with the school. An announcement to parents was made by the school as it broke up for the winter school break. No explanation was given for the change of leadership, nor for the appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer which apparently took place at the same time.
Surprise as Indian High School CEO Replaced
By Lyn Soppelsa
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Mr. Kumar was relieved of his duties, according to the recently-appointed Chairman, Girish Jethwani, and replaced by Punit M.K. Vasu, a former alumnus of the school. Mr. Vasu was formerly Director of Strategic Programmes at the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the Schools' Regulator for the Emirate of Dubai.  Braj Mohan Gupta has been appointed as the new Chief Financial Officer.

Ashok Kumar is an award winning educationist and author of many academic books. He led the Indian High School to its Outstanding KHDA rating - the only CBSE curriculum school in the emirates to achieve this, though the school is currently rated Very Good - and was also a Member of the Greater Good Circle – KHDA, and Founder Chairman of the Council of CBSE Affiliated Schools in the Gulf.  In addition, Mr. Kumar also participated as a Content Advisor for the KHDA's 'What Works' Workshop series. He was the winner of the "Lifetime Achievement" Award at the GESS Education Awards in 2019.

Although no explanation has yet been given for the decision to replace Mr. Kumar,  parents had expressed some discontent with IHS in the past year, with complaints in relation to the late notice of the issue of the books' list for each grade (issued on 29th March with school starting on 1st April), and the cost of the recommended books supplied by the school, which were defended by Mr. Kumar.

The late notice of the books' lists meant that parents were unable to secure alternative supplies, although Mr. Kumar stated that parents were free to purchase them outside the school. Parents found that charges for books supplied at the school varied between AED 650 and AED 1,300 depending on the grade, but could be purchased outside the school for not more than AED 600, according to one supplier, though none were available to purchase at the time.  

In addition, the decision to transfer students in rotation to the school's branch in Dubai Silicon Oasis for one calendar month at a time, appears to have been a further cause for complaint. At the time, it was explained that the main campus lacked 22 classrooms and lab facilities for one cohort (two grades), and the use of the DSO campus would allow renovation works at the main campus to be carried out. 

However, this suggested significant over-expansion without the required facilities.

To minimise disruptions to students’ bus timings, the school reduced the number of periods from eight to seven and offered free transportation from the senior campus to the DSO campus for the transition period.

To make up for the lost periods, students had to attend three Saturday classes during the course of their rotation at the Silicon Oasis site. Parents, inevitably, had to deal with the logistics of their children's new programme.

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