Dubai schools

First batch of inspections fail to impress

The much-anticipated report on Dubai’s schools was partially unveiled last month, with only four of the 69 schools inspected in the first batch described as ‘outstanding’ – not a great result given the hefty school fees we’re all paying. Almost half (34) were rated ‘acceptable’ and another 25 were deemed ‘good’. Six schools were rated ‘unacceptable’.

The inspections, conducted by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) on behalf of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), evaluated schools against seven indicators, including students’ progress and personal and social development, as well as teaching standards and student support.

Parents can check out the two-page summaries on, although the KHDA wants schools to share as much information as possible. ‘I hope that school staff and parents will be able to discuss the findings and then work together on ways to improve their school,’ says Jameela Al Muhairi, chief of the DSIB.

Importantly, under new Ministry of Education rules, the amount by which schools can raise fees will depend on their performance, with schools falling into the ‘outstanding’ category able – but not obliged (school powers-that-be please note) – to hike fees by up to 15 per cent. By contrast, schools deemed ‘unacceptable’ will see their fee increases capped at seven per cent, broadly in line with the cost of living.

However the new system, which applies to 2009/, has come in for criticism from some teachers who say it is those schools who fall at the lower end of the scale who need to raise fees to fund improvements.

All 220 public and private school reports are expected to be completed by May 17, apart from 31 Indian, Pakistani and Iranian schools which follow a different school year. Parents should keep their eyes peeled as new schools will be uploaded to the website every week.
What’s your view? Email us at and watch out for our analysis of the full report in June’s issue.

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