KHALEEJ TIMES, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, 19 March 2004.

MoEY receives complaint against private school

By Mohsen Rashed and Meraj Rizvi

19 March 2004

DUBAI - The Foreign Private Schools Section at the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY) has recently received a complaint from the parents of a four-year old student who was subjected to genital tests, which led to bleeding of the reproductive organ.

The father explained in his written complaint to the ministry that the management of the school, which is an affiliate to a private-school group, sent the medical examination form to him to fill in, indicating that it is a routine procedure where a urine sample is taken..

"No other details were mentioned about the test, nor was I invited to attend. However, the results were forwarded to me with my son saying they are normal," said the father..

The father later found his son suffering serious pain in his organ.

The child explained that the attending physician violently pulled him while taking the sample and he later bled. Having enquired with the nurse, who works for a medical clinic affiliated to the same group, the father found out that she was not present at the time of taking the sample..

"The family doctor confirmed that my son is suffering from a ruptured foreskin as a result of the test, especially after my son had explained in detail what had been done to him," the parent said.

"The principal, who had initially no answer, and made no offer to help, attributed the bleeding due to my son's falling down in the school playground," he added..

However, the head of the medical care section of the private clinic informed that the incident is being investigated, and the physician who had carried out the test is suspended.

Following the incident, the father withdrew his son from the school, and filed a complaint with the ministry. On its part, the MoEY formed a special committee that paid an immediate visit to the school.

The school administration has denied the contents of the complaint. However the investigations are still underway.

A source at the school disclosed that all the school's medical tests and examinations have been stopped temporarily.

The Chief Operating Officer of the private school group when contacted, did not deny the incident. He said, the nature of the issue has been discussed with both the parents as well as the MoEY officials..

"The school has maintained a dialogue with the parents and has explained the nature of the health examination conducted on the child."

The official explained that the health examination of students is a routine examination conducted in all private schools under the guidelines of the MoEY and the Ministry of Health.

In this case also, the health examination was carried out under the supervision of a qualified doctor and a nurse appointed by the school, as per the ministry directives, the official said, stating further that the parents were advised in advance through a form explaining in detail about the health examination to be carried out on their child.

"In addition to a list of things explained in the form, a bottle for urine sample was also requested to be sent along with the student as part of the health examination.

The parents were not kept in the dark, and only after the form was duly signed and returned, the health examination was conducted on the four-year old student."

He pointed out that the school adheres to appropriate guidelines in carrying out such examination on students. However, he believes that this particular incident, "is an issue of confidentiality between the school and the parents."

He clarified that other parents of students from the same school, have so far voiced no complaints against the system and are happy with the procedures applied in the school with regards to its health and immunisation campaigns.

It was learnt that the school has not carried out immunisation campaign for two years, but has been conducting health examinations according to the Ministry guidelines.

(File created 31 March 2004)