— A number of parents have complained that a special needs center in Jeddah has expelled their daughters from the center.
The center claimed that it took the decision to reduce the student intake as per government instructions.
However, the parents said the center's management did not notify them of the decision in advance, which disrupted their daily routine and created chaos in the lives of the children.
The parents told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that the center had informed them later that expulsion was due to capacity issues, according to the women's social supervision office in Makkah.
"The decision came two weeks after the start of the school year, which affected the education of our girls negatively, especially since they have been studying at the center for years," one parent said.
He said they preferred the center because it was the one closest to their homes.
Haya Al-Sulaiman, assistant supervisor in the Ministry of Social Development's Makkah branch, said the ministry had sent a letter to all day care centers catering to special needs children explaining the new mechanism and procedural guidelines to establish care centers, including the required area of the building.
The letter said the intake of each center should not exceed 81 cases in the qualifying year. That number should include all enrollments, whether covered by a state-funded program or otherwise.
Dr. Mohammed bin Hassan Al-Qahtani, adviser to the minister of labor and social development and supervisor of the ministry's branch in Makkah, said the instructions were released at the beginning of the academic year and if any particular center had delayed relaying this information to the parents it was their problem. "All centers have been informed of capacity issues well in time," he said.
He pointed out that the intake capacity was fixed in order to provide integrated services and care for beneficiaries of the centers, especially as they needed special care and attention.