From an article in Gulf News of Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Good news for Dubai expats: Private schools in Dubai that cater mostly to the Dubai expat population have shown progress in the KHDA rankings. Gulf News says ” The emirate’s education system continues its progress, albeit slowly, with five more schools joining the ‘outstanding’ list and three schools shrugging off the ‘unsatisfactory’ tag, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority’s (KHDA) annual private schools inspection report revealed.”
While most parents in Dubai reacted positively to the report, some have clearly interpreted the rankings as schools that have Arabic language teaching well figured out are ranked higher than schools that don’t focus on Arabic. The American School of Dubai (ASD) which is ranked as “Good” for 2012 is a prime example. It’s widely acknowledged as one of the best schools in Dubai, but KHDA did not rank it as “Outstanding” because the American School of Dubai is probably not as focused on Arabic.
Gulf News added “Out of 138 schools that were inspected by KHDA’s Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) between October 2011 and March 2012, covering 194,260 students, 11 schools were ranked outstanding, up from six last year.
At 49, the number of schools ranked ‘good’ has remained the same but the number of students attending these schools declined marginally, whereas the number of ‘acceptable’ schools has also remained the same at 65, indicating slow progress.
Positively, the number of schools ranked ‘unsatisfactory’ has declined from 16 last year to 13 this year.
But, the fact that 54 per cent of the students either get ‘acceptable or unsatisfactory’ education suggests that there is still a lot of work to be done, however, the number was much higher four years ago.
“The education system as a whole has shown substantial improvement both in terms of quality as well as quantity over the last four years and the inspection results show it clearly. There is a basic change in the way schools manage themselves now, while students and parents also are working towards the progress,” said Dr Abdullah Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of KHDA.
Interestingly, this year the DSIB also engaged with 37,000 parents and the report indicates that parents are generally happy with the performance of the schools.
Another key finding of the report is that almost all schools in Dubai lack facilities and qualified staff to handle children with special needs.”