x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Balance of quality shifts in favour of pupils over the past six years

According to a KHDA report, student numbers have increased and over half now receive a good or outstanding education.

The ratio of pupils at good and outstanding schools compared with schools rated acceptable and unsatisfactory has improved in six years.

“More students are now attending good or outstanding schools than in previous years,” a KHDA report said.

This academic year 120,408 students attended good or outstanding schools, compared with 117,327 who attended schools with a rating of acceptable or unsatisfactory.

“In 2008 to 2009, only 30 per cent of students had an education which was judged to be good or outstanding,” the report said. “Student numbers have increased and over half of them now receive a good or outstanding education.”

For the first time, no schools have been moved down in their overall rating. Eight improved their rankings, with two moving to acceptable and six up to good.

British curriculum schools continue to dominate outstanding and good schools. Eighteen per cent of them were outstanding and 53 per cent good.

US curriculum schools were criticised by the KHDA for not improving their overall ratings this year.

US schools were repeatedly singled out. More than 30 per cent of schools downgraded in some factors were American curriculum.

And despite improvements in English, maths and science, students in US and Ministry of Education schools scored well below expectations of international assessments.

Kevin Simpson, managing director of education company KDSL, said KHDA’s recent partnership with the US-curriculum accreditation agency New England Association of Schools and Colleges would help to improve local standards.

“Continuous improvement is a process and takes time,” said Mr Simpson, whose company works with American schools in the Mena region to promote best practices and host educational forums.

“It is a key part of any school and requires regular self-assessment, diagnosis and planning. Schools must work collectively, establish smart goals and involve all stakeholders.”

Of the 12 ranked outstanding by the KHDA, seven follow British curriculum, three UK-International Baccalaureate, and two are Indian.

They are Kings School Dubai, Gems Wellington International School, Jumeirah College, Jumeirah English Speaking School, Dubai College, Gems Jumeirah Primary School, Jumeirah English Speaking School, Gems Dubai American Academy, Gems Modern Academy, The Indian High School, Dubai English Speaking College and Horizons English Schools.

They were also rated outstanding last year.

Eight schools were identified as providing “unsatisfactory” education for at least two years.

They include Ministry of Education curriculum schools Al Arqm Private, Al Thuraya Private, and New World Private and New Academy, which follow the US curriculum.

rpennington@thenational.ae