x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

KHDA to hand over inspection of public schools to ministry

Dubai's education authority, the KHDA, has ceded control to the Ministry of Education and will no longer inspect government schools.

DUBAI // Public schools in the emirate will no longer be inspected by the local education authority, officials said yesterday.

The move is part of a ceding of authority by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to the Ministry of Education, which will soon be entirely responsible for the operation of all public schools in the country.

The KHDA has been responsible for monitoring standards in government schools since 2008.

The Dubai education authority - which was created as part of the Ministry of Education's initial decentralisation plan to pass on powers to local authorities in every emirate - was the first in the country to show the deteriorating quality at public schools through its inspection process.

With the re-establishment this year of a Dubai Education Zone that operates under the ministry, Dr Abdulla al Karam, director general of KHDA, said the federal authority will implement its own monitoring system.

"Right from the start of the inspection process, we have shared the full results of the public schools with the ministry," he said. "It is up to them to carry further the improvement plan."

Seventy-nine public schools were inspected this year with six achieving an outstanding grade: Al Bara'ah Kindergarten, Al Manhal Kindergarten, Al Nokhbah Model School, Al Qeyam Model School, Childhood Development Centre and Umm Suqeim Primary School.

When public schools were first inspected, Dr al Karam said the shortcomings that had plagued them for years were backed by data for the first time.

According to the 2008-09 annual report, the quality of teaching at public schools required much of improvement to ensure high school students were prepared for higher education.

Pupils' skills in English was found to be weak. Teaching in nearly one in 10 public schools was unsatisfactory and attendance was inconsistent.

In the second round of inspections, the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau checked in to see if schools had formulated action plans for improvement and saw some change, though the report still highlighted poor motivation and a high dropout rate for boys.

The results of the latest and final inspection round will be made available in June.

"We took the first step, so now it is easier for them to carry on," Dr al Karam said.

He said the shift of responsibility will enable the authority to focus on private schools, where more than 85 per cent of children in Dubai are educated.

aahmed@thenational.ae