(MENAFN - Arab News) There is a rising demand for community schools in the holy cities of makkah and madinah to cater to the indian and pakistani expatriate communities.
the massive infrastructural development in these twin cities has resulted in large numbers of expatriates settling there for employment but they are facing difficulties with finding suitable schools for their children.
parents are urging authorities to consider the establishment of community schools in makkah and madinah as in other cities of the kingdom.
currently students residing in makkah have to commute to jeddah for schooling and those in madinah are sent back to their home countries owing to a lack of community schools in the prophet's city.
makkah students have to wake up at 4 a.m. to board the 5 a.m. schoolbus to jeddah. young children often suffer from lack of sleep as the long commute exhausts them physically and they barely get time to recap their studies in preparation for the long journey again the following morning according to parents and experts.
'my children wake up at 4 a.m. and the bus leaves for jeddah around 6 a.m. after picking up other students" laments abdul mannan an indian parent.
'when they return from jeddah they are too tired to do anything else. they are constantly worried about completing their homework and the journey to school" he said adding that there is no enjoyment in life for them.
kamran butt a pakistani expat living in makkah said: 'i moved to jeddah from makkah so that my children could attend school. although it is i who now has to make the long journey to makkah and back i am satisfied that my young children do not have to suffer anymore."
following a fatal road accident in 2004 where seven girls and one teacher of the international indian school were killed on their way from makkah to jeddah the demand for a community school in the holy city had gained momentum. but it failed to materialize.
adding to the parents' woes the indian school in jeddah has halted admission of makkah students into its kindergarten classes for the last two years saying that the physical exhaustion of the young children hampers their academic performance.
according to diplomatic sources the indian and pakistani communities form the largest segment of expatriates in the kingdom and they have made desperate attempts to obtain permission for establishing community schools in the holy cities but failed.
in madinah the situation is worse as the city lacks any schooling facilities and neither are there any schools in nearby cities.
a private senior secondary level school offers the pakistan curriculum but parents have mixed opinions about it whereas there are no such facilities available for indian students in madinah.
this year nearly 60 percent of indian families are moving back to india for their children's education according to rasheed puli a indian community member in madinah.