Half of children attend ‘acceptable’ schools

The Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) inspected 136 private schools catering to almost 188,000 students in Dubai during the period October 2010 to April 2011, and has named six schools as ‘outstanding’ in its report.
The private outstanding schools for 2010-2011 are: Dubai College, Jumeirah College, Jumeirah English Speaking School, Jumeirah Primary School, Gems Wellington International School and Kings Dubai School, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Incidentally, all of them offer British curriculum, and none of the schools offering other curricula have bagged the distinction.

According to the authority, the third year of inspections in private schools in Dubai has revealed that almost 20,000 more children are now at schools rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ compared with this time last year. In addition, there has been a 25 per cent drop in the number of children in ‘Unsatisfactory’ schools over the past year, from 13,243 last year to 9,983 in this academic year.

Overall, the DSIB rated the schools as follows: Outstanding: 6; Good: 49; Acceptable: 65; and Unsatisfactory: 16.

Another six public schools have bagged the ‘outstanding’ ratings for 2010-2011, and include: Al Bara’ah Kindergarten, Al Manhal Kindergarten, Al Nokhbah Model School, Al Qeyam Model School, Childhood Development Centre, Kindergarten; Umm Seqeim Primary School.

There are now 82,360 pupils in Dubai’s private schools getting a Good or Outstanding education, compared to 64,599 last year – so almost half (43.8 per cent) of the 187,950 children in the private schools that were inspected fall into the top two inspection ratings.

The findings show overall improvements in pupils’ levels of achievement in English, maths and science, along with improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and self-evaluation. Leadership has improved, as have arrangements schools make for the protection of their students.

However, the findings also show that almost half of Dubai’s schoolchildren attend schools that give only an Acceptable level of education. All of the Outstanding schools follow the UK curriculum, but private schools that offer the Ministry of Education curriculum “have not improved as quickly or as extensively as other private schools”, the inspectors found.

Announcing this year’s results, DSIB Chief Jameela Al Muhairi, said: “We can see a trend towards a healthier education system which is providing a better education for the children of Dubai. Parents are using our data to make choices about where their child should be educated.

“We can look back to the first year of inspections, in 2008, and see that there was no culture of quality assurance embedded in schools in Dubai. We needed to explain what we were doing, and why we were doing it. There were some people who were unhappy about being inspected, and we had to work together to show the benefits that inspections could bring.

“Last year there were fewer problems and we all began to see that even small changes could bring good results. This year, school inspections are ‘business as usual’, schools are familiar with our procedures, they are familiar with the language we use, and we have grown together.

“Our third year findings are the result of a lot of hard work by school owners, principals, teachers and parents to provide much better outcomes. We have some way to go, especially around the teaching of Arabic and the need to teach children the skills to question and analyse information.

“Some schools are textbook-driven and in some classrooms there is room for improvement in the quality of teaching. We will continue to do follow-through inspections in the Unsatisfactory schools, and will support all schools to continue their journey towards the best they can be.”

Parents were asked their views during the inspection process, and 90 per cent expressed overall satisfaction with their child’s school. Most were also positive about inspections, with the most negative comments being about their child’s progress in Arabic, and the standard of Islamic Education offered.

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