Dubai private schools now among world's top 10 for reading skills

They achieved a significant rise of 76 points since 2011, with some schools exceeding the global average by nearly 150 points

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Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 18 May 2023, 2:33 PM

Last updated: Thu 18 May 2023, 2:56 PM

Private schools in Dubai now rank sixth globally in reading literacy — marking the first time they made it to the top 10.

The emirate's schools achieved a significant rise of 76 points since 2011, according to the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) assessment.


PIRLS is an international evaluation conducted every five years to measure reading and literacy skills among Grade 4 students globally.

In the 2021 study, Dubai's private schools achieved an impressive score of 566 points, exceeding the global average of 500 points, indicating a high level of academic achievement compared to schools worldwide.


Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director-general of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), praised the school community, stating that these results exemplify the world-class teaching happening daily across the schools.

In the PIRLS evaluation, schools ranked as "outstanding" achieved an exceptional score of 631 points, surpassing the global average by nearly 150 points. "Very good" and "good" schools scored 588 and 564 points, respectively.

Among different curricula, UK curriculum schools performed the best, with a score of 588 points. They were closely followed by International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum schools, which scored 583 points.

Fatma Belrehif, CEO of Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau, stated that the latest PIRLS assessments reflect school inspection performances, with 'outstanding' and 'very good' schools exceeding global averages. She expressed pride in the school community's dedicated approach to supporting students through the pandemic and continuing to provide high-quality education during challenging times.

The percentage of students in Dubai's private schools achieving the Advanced International Benchmark of 625 points also saw significant growth. In 2016, only 12 percent of students reached this benchmark, while recent data shows a substantial increase to 27 percent, indicating considerable academic performance improvements among students in Dubai's private schools.

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