The latest Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) inspections have revealed the improving landscapes of schools in Dubai, with 12 establishments being rated as outstanding. The report coincided with the news that schools in the emirate are also aiming to become healthier.
Each year, the education regulator releases the results of its annual investigations. The comprehensive reviews are carried out to test the performance of schools in the emirate to allow Dubai to plan better and improve the standards of the education provided.
Of the 141 schools assessed, the KHDA rated 12 as outstanding, 57 as good, 34 acceptable and eight as unsatisfactory. Overall, eight establishments had managed to achieve a higher rating compared to the previous year and the number of institutions given a poor grade had dropped.
Commenting on the results of the 2014 report, Jameela Al Muhairi, chief of the Dubai School Inspection Bureau at KHDA, said: “Parents should be fully informed of the strengths and weaknesses of their child’s school and have a comprehensive understanding of its progress over the past year.
“We encourage all parents to read the school reports in full. Parents should be fully informed of the strengths and weaknesses of their child’s school and have a comprehensive understanding of its progress over the past year.”
According to the organisation, almost 90 per cent of the student population in Dubai attend 158 private schools, which offer 15 different curriculums. In 2013, enrolment increased by eight per cent, with a total of 243,715 pupils attending private schools in the emirate.
The schools teaching in line with a UK syllabus classed as outstanding were Gems Wellington International School, Jumeirah College, Jumeirah English Speaking School, Dubai College, Gems Jumeirah Primary School, Dubai English Speaking College and Horizons English School.
Each inspection focused on many different factors to provide a comprehensive review of each school. These included the social and personal development of students, the standard of teaching and assessment, the quality of the curriculum and leadership.
The release of the KHDA’s report coincided with the news that many schools in Dubai taking healthy eating very seriously, with some establishments changing the rules so that fines are handed out to those eating unhealthy snacks.
Using high quality and organic ingredients in school meals is central to the new campaign. Authorities want pupils to know where their food comes from, how it is produced and what the best way to cook it is. The aim is to equip students with the skills to make great tasting dishes, while also focusing on the nutritional value of the meal.
The Emirates International School in the Meadows is really hammering the message of healthy eating home by banning any foods that are bad for students, such as chips. Pupils are taught not to buy fatty foods and the corridors are filled with posters that read: "You are junk if you eat junk".
Back in March, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) went as far as to suggest introducing a fine of AED1 (£0.16), to be issued to students who bring unhealthy snacks. Wafa Ayesh, director of clinical nutrition at the organisation, said: “We are asking teachers to send notes to parents who are not making good health choices for their children and we believe, in time, this will change behaviour.
“But we want to give out a positive message rather than a negative one.”
The advice was welcomed by some parents. According to 7DAYSinDubai, Rahaf Ahmed, a mother of two, said: “I am personally happy to be notified about any bad food I send with my children. This will help me provide them with healthy food.”
This change, combined with the positive results of the KHDA’s school inspections, should put the minds of parents moving to Dubai at ease, as they can be safe in the knowledge that schools in the emirate will provide students with a strong life skills and a first class education.