Dubai: Although more Indian pupils are getting better education now, with over 16,230 pupils attending schools getting a better rating by Dubai's education authority, the pace of improvement of Indian schools has slowed down significantly.
Officials have also decried that many children with special needs may be going under the radar at Indian schools.
A report based on the inspection of Indian and Pakistani schools in Dubai by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) was made public on Monday, identifying key shortcomings in these schools. Out of the 21 Indian curriculum schools inspected, two scored an outstanding rating, seven were rated good, 10 acceptable and two unsatisfactory
Two schools improved their rating from good to outstanding, while two declined, going from good to acceptable, and the remaining retained their last year's rating.
"Alarmingly, many children with special educational needs may be going unnoticed at some of the Indian schools as these schools lack understanding of the definition of special needs in the broader sense," Jameela Al Muhairi, Chief of the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) at KHDA, said on Monday.
"For instance, the principal of a school with thousands of pupils told us there were four or five such children in the school."
"But this turned out to be wrong as experts participating in the inspection process identified more pupils during their interaction with the pupils," she said.
"Schools should use DSIB guidelines to more effectively identify students who demonstrate learning difficulties or require further challenges," she urged.
Lack of effective support for students with special educational needs leads to them failing to make expected progress and experiencing low self-esteem, the report says about less effective schools.
"Higher attaining students do not achieve their potential or make the progress of which they are capable," it notes.
In contrast, the best-performing schools provide targeted specialist support and ensure teachers know how to plan for the range of learners.
The Indian High School and the Modern High School are the first two Indian schools to be rated outstanding.
Poor teaching, learning and assessment of Arabic, lack of good English teachers, and narrow focus on success in exams, and lack of opportunities for the development of investigations, inquiry, research and critical thinking were identified as the shortcomings of some of the Indian schools.
Students lack independence in their learning, not allowing them to make progress. Kindergarten teaching and curricula do not meet the learning needs and are not age-appropriate, and an unusually high turnover of staff in a significant minority of schools were other areas of concerns raised.
"Progress in schools has slowed down a little," Jameela said.
Dr Abdullah Al Karam, Director-General, KHDA, called on schools to form partnerships so that they can learn from each others' experiences and enhance the quality of education.
About 35,428 Indian pupils (58.5 per cent) now attend'good' or ‘outstanding' schools.