Nurseries aware of the rule, but unclear of the details
According to the report, this will also impact the entry of male owners, claiming the school will incur a penalty if they found violating the rule.
The decision is set-up to ensure the safety of children and to limit their exposure to prospective abusers.
Zahra Hamirani, chief education officer of The Blossom Nursery, confirms that the no-men rule is not new.
“As far as we know, males cannot be employed by nurseries except for specific categories.”
Their nursery has already established a high safety standard. “Blossom trains all staff in paediatric first-aid, preparing safe environments and uses a password system, double gate access and CCTV to ensure those entering and exiting the centre are recorded and monitored.”
Few nureries confirmed that they had the no-male staff policy in place.
In a statement from British Orchard Nursery, they stressed that “safeguarding children is an important policy. We have followed safety procedures from inception, employing only female staff, ensuring buses have a female attendant at all times and installing CCTV in our branches.”
There was no clarification from the Ministry if this rule was extended to fathers of students.
“I drop and pick-up my child every day. Does this mean I can’t do this any more?” quizzed a concerned father.
Some nurseries were equally unsure about this.
“(The Ministry) is right to ensure we all keep our guard up and understand our obligation to children but I’m not clear how a nursery could not allow fathers, external providers, drivers and deliverymen into their centre. Of course, the staff should not allow interactions with casual visitors and children are taught to understand this,” added Hamirani.
Namrata, headmistress of Bluebells nursery in Sharjah, said their school would continue to allow fathers until any further notice. “Most of our children use the school transportation, but we do have many parents who drop and pick their children. And, majority of them are fathers.
“Our male drivers do not enter the premises. In fact, all our caretakers are female. Our watchman is stationed in a room that is away from where the children are,” she added.
With CCTV cameras installed to monitor the entire campus, she endorses the viewpoint that such restrictions do ensure the safety of the children.
Most nurseries were not aware if the limitations extended to male school owners.
“I didn’t know about this. One of our owner is male, and he does sit in the main office. He is out of the country now, but when he gets back a decision will be made,” informed the principal of a nursery in Sharjah.
“We hear of such horrific incidents these days that we want to do everything to protect our children from such evil,” reasoned Devi, mother of a toddler who attends a nursery in Al Twar.
Some, however, contested whether barring men could be the solution. “Not allowing men in the campus might not be the right solution. There should be constant monitoring, via CCTV, and toddlers should be educated about ‘good touch and bad touch’,” added Rebecca, a parent of a three-year-old girl,
Over the above initiative, Hamirani explained the need to make families more vigilant about such crimes.
“The reality in child abuse is not to simply teach “stranger danger” but for families to understand that it is often those close to us who may make our children targets. In addition, it is not only men who are abusers.”