x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Schools get thumbs-up from parents

More than 10,370 parents were questioned as part of the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau latest report.

DUBAI // Almost all the parents of public school pupils in the emirate polled in a survey say their children are receiving a good or outstanding quality of education.

More than 10,370 parents responded to questions about the work and progress of their children in the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) report.

More than 90 per cent said their children were achieving academically and the school looked after their welfare, health and safety.

And while the report pointed to a poor level of performance in boys' schools and a restricted curriculum, the satisfaction of parents was found to be high.

This was echoed last month in a report by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center entitled Progress and Tradition in the GCC States. Eighty-four per cent of Emirati respondents told Gallup they were satisfied with the education system.

Khadeeja Yaqoub, an Emirati mother whose daughter is at Nad al Hamar School, said her daughter had a lot of opportunities to develop skills.

"The school focuses on activities and offers workshops on cooking and sewing," she said.

The school received a good rating in inspections this year. It received high points for pupils' outstanding behaviour and the positive student-teacher relationship.

Ms Yaqoub's 13-year-old daughter, Eman, agreed: "The teachers are very understanding and keep us engaged through activities."

However, the school has been asked to address the pupils' weakness in numbers and multiplication tables. Teachers said they had spared no effort to follow the recommendations.

Asia Khamis, a teacher at Hind bint Maktoum School, said regular training sessions in new teaching methods had helped immensely.

"We are doing things differently now and make lessons interesting through field trips," she said.

"We have also started using computer programmes, which excites them."

Noura al Saif, the principal of Um Suqaim Primary School, which was ranked outstanding, said the school was constantly looking for ways to improve. "One of the main challenges for the pupils is English language skills, which we have overcome by improving teaching quality and resources," she said.

The inspectors' report still recommended that the school provide more opportunity for pupils to develop their writing skills and foster independent investigation.

Maths skills, in which most public schools pupils lagged, were being addressed through online quizzes and competitions, said Najwa Hassan, who teaches the subject at a public high school in Dubai.

"But such resources to accompany the textbook material are hard to find," she said. "So it is necessary that the ministry develop them and help find them."

* With additional reporting by Amna al Haddad