Dubai schools rate high on “well-being” quotient as per new report

New OECD report outlines Dubai schools’ well-being journey and KHDA’s key initiatives


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Mon 21 Mar 2022, 1:32 PM

Dubai’s private schools have initiated many initiatives to enhance happiness levels and wellbeing of its students and staff.

That’s according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that has outlined the impact of initiatives and programmes rolled out by Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in recent years.

The report was released to educators in Dubai during a special session hosted as part of KHDA’s Well-being Festival.

According to the OECD review of well-being policies and practices, “In recent years, KHDA and Dubai’s private schools have pursued a number of initiatives to increase levels of happiness and well-being across the sector. Such efforts have helped raise awareness of the importance of well-being across the sector. More importantly, they have encouraged school leaders, teachers, parents, and students to better understand the concept of well-being, not only in the form of daily habits but also as a long-term commitment for themselves and the system as a whole.”

Further, the report reveals that, “KHDA has adopted a strengths-based approach to education and well-being. Since 2016-17, KHDA has partnered with a number of institutions and experts that promote a strengths-based approach.”

“Many schools and school networks have since committed to the tenets of positive education, embedding it into their curricula, appointing heads of positive education and/or Well-being champions, rethinking student discipline policies, renovating the school’s physical environment, training their staff and introducing new practices and initiatives”, its stated.

Experts opined that the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that it is insufficient to assume that student well-being and strong social and emotional skills come as an automatic result of a good academic education.

Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at the OECD said, “They need to be part of an intentional design of learning environments and the organisation of schools. Following the recommendations from the ‘OECD Review of Well-being Policies and Practices in Dubai’s Private School Sector, KHDA is leading that charge.”

The new report provides an overview of Dubai’s well-being journey and offers considerations on how to strengthen policies and practices.


Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director general of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), says, “The pandemic has made us think about the true purpose of education, and the real value of well-being. There’s been so much progress in recent years when it comes to well-being research and well-being data, and we’re very happy that our private school sector is now part of that. We’ve learned a lot in this journey towards better well-being and now is the time to look towards the future.”

In addition to initiatives such as the Dubai Adults@School Well-being Survey and the Teachers of Dubai campaign, KHDA has also provided several opportunities for teachers’ professional collaboration and development.

According to the OECD report, “KHDA is a strong advocate for student well-being, raising awareness of its importance, introducing data collection tools, and encouraging stakeholder collaboration platforms. School-level initiatives have also been introduced across the sector. The goal now is to ensure that policies and practices have a more significant impact in supporting students’ well-being.”

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