More than 100,000 pupils in Dubai private schools receive only an acceptable or unsatisfactory quality of education, according to annual inspection results by the emirate's education watchdog.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) announced the 2011-2012 inspection results of 138 schools today.
According to the results, 13 schools were rated as unsatisfactory, 65 were found to be acceptable and 49 were regarded as good. Nine schools dropped a rank this year.
A total of 95,249 pupils received an education only regarded as acceptable while 10,988 received one graded as unsatisfactory.
However, 11 schools – or five more than last year – received an outstanding ranking in the latest report. There are 58,872 more pupils attending top-rated schools in Dubai than there were in 2008-2009 when the inspections were initiated.
The Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB), which conducted the inspections for the KHDA, said in a report that despite the improvement seen at schools in the past four years, the pace of progress had slowed.
Most schools weren’t successful in improving their overall rankings.
“In 2010-11, around 56 per cent of students attended acceptable or unsatisfactory schools. This year this percentage has reduced only slightly to 54 per cent,” the report said.
“Although fewer students attend such schools in comparison with the first year of inspection, a significant number of these schools have been unsatisfactory over the full period of inspection.”
The report found schools ranked as acceptable had not shown much improvement. On the other hand, those ranked as outstanding displayed high levels of pupil engagement, enhanced teaching strategies and followed an enriched curriculum.
The report also found while teaching of subjects including English, mathematics and science had progressed, standards in Arabic instruction still faltered.
Jameela Al Muhairi, chief of the DSIB, said the degree of improvement in students’ attainment and progress in Arabic over the four-year inspection period continued to be “considerably less than in other key subjects”.
“KHDA will not allow this to continue. It is important that Arab pupils are able to use their mother tongue confidently,” Ms Al Muhairi said.
A significant minority of schools still failed to meet requirements for Islamic Education and Arabic.
Inspectors found students were not reaching the required level of their native language and capability because of a lack of support. They also found while educators followed better safety practices, there was not enough support for pupils with special education needs.
None of the schools following the national curriculum, which educates 16,197 pupils, received a good or a higher rating this year.
“The overall performance of these schools remains broadly the same as last year with almost all being evaluated as acceptable,” the report said.
This year’s results point to best teaching and learning practices in UK and International Baccalaureate curricula schools. French schools also received glowing report cards, with strong leadership and responsive governance being their biggest development.
“In all four [French] schools students demonstrate excellent behaviour and positive attitudes to learning,” the report said.
All five Iranian schools were rated as acceptable in their first round of inspections.
The report also found that only a third of the 30 US system campuses used official state standards to plan lessons and assessments.
Results for the Indian and Pakistani schools were announced earlier this year. All results and individual reports can be found on www.khda.gov.ae
This story has been corrected since publication. The private schools inspected are all located in Dubai, not throughout the UAE as originally stated.