Majority of private schools in Capital below standard

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Majority of private schools in Capital below standard

The majority of private schools in the emirate are not up to standard, according to inspection results which are being made public for the first time.


Olivia Olarte-Ulherr

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Published: Tue 30 Jul 2013, 11:48 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:56 AM

Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili and Hamad Al Dhaheri announcing the results of the private school evaluation at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. — Supplied photo

The 2011-2013 inspections, which evaluated 146 schools across the emirate, showed that 66 per cent, or 100 schools, are “in need of significant improvement”. Of these, 38 per cent scored “unsatisfactory”, 21 per cent “very unsatisfactory” and seven per cent “poor”.

Teaching quality and student learning were the major short-falls. School leadership was also an issue. The results were disclosed by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) officials on Tuesday.

The 2011-2013 inspections, which were completed last month, did not include villa schools. During this period, 152 visits were conducted by third party inspectors. Some schools required two visits.

Overall effectiveness rating showed that 23 schools (15 per cent of total schools inspected) are in the Band A (high per-forming), 29 schools (19 per cent) are in Band B (satisfactory) while 100 schools (66 per cent) are in Band C (in need of significant improvement).

“No school got an outstanding grade but four per cent are very good, 11 per cent good and 38 per cent unsatisfactory,” said Engineer Hamad Al Dhaheri, executive director of Adec’s Private Schools and Quality Assurance Sector (Psqa).

“Almost 38 per cent of our schools are on the edge but with little effort they can go to Band B,” noted Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Director-General of the Adec.

Schools in the Band A rating with grade 2 (very good) include British International School Al Khubairat, Cam-bridge High School, Al Yasmina School and GEMS American Academy. Those with grade 3 (good) in Band A are American Community School, Gems World Academy, Shaikh Zayed Private Academy and Merryland International School.

According to him, the school’s curriculum did not play a role in the scores, noting that some British, American and Indian schools achieved satisfactory and high results compared with other schools with the same system.

“The curriculum is not the main factor, but important. The quality of teachers, school management and leadership, play a bigger role,” said Dr Al Khaili.

The evaluation measures follow an eight-point scale of 1-8 (outstanding to poor), which determines the ranking — Band A (1-3), Band B (4-5) and Band C (6-8).

Inspection of private schools started in 2009-2011 covering 127 schools but results were not made public by the Adec to give schools time to improve their scores. At that time, 72 per cent of schools inspected received poor scores.

Comparing the 2011-2013 results with 2009-2011, Dr Al Khaili noted some “remarkable improvements”.

Cycle 1 showed that 11 per cent of private schools were in Band A, 17 per cent were in Band B and 72 per cent were in Band C.

“Sixty per cent of private schools improved between cycle 1 and 2 of Irtiqaa,” Dr Al Khaili pointed out.

The Irtiqaa (aspiration) programme assesses the school’s performance against eight standards. These include students’ achievement and progress; personal development of students; teaching quality; meeting students’ needs through curriculum; protection, care, guidance and support of students; quality of accommodation and facilities; resources that help a school achieve its objectives; and competence of leadership and management of the school.

According to Al Dhaheri, 18 schools went three grades up from cycle 1, 36 schools went up by two and 43 schools have gone one level up. Four schools, however, retreated by two grades and eight by one.

The inspection results, which are now uploaded on the Adec website ( including individual scores of each school, is part of the Council’s “transparency” efforts aimed at giving parents a clear picture of the school’s educational standing.

Cycle 3 assessments will start in 2013-2014 school year and results will be announced in the summer of 2015. However, periodic results will be posted online, according to the Adec.

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