Students in Emirati dress. Image for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s private schools will now be rated for the quality of their national identity programmes as part of the National Identity Mark.

The annual school ratings system introduced by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) aims to boost transparency, and empower parents to select the ideal school environment for their children.

The National Identity Mark aims to heighten Emirati students’ deep-rooted understanding of the UAE’s traditions, customs and values, thus empowering and enabling them to navigate the diverse global landscape with a strong foundation based in their own cultural background.

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Evaluation framework

The evaluation framework covers three main domains. The Culture domain focuses on a knowledge of history, heritage and Arabic language. The Values domain promotes respect, compassion, and global understanding. The Citizenship domain focuses on encouraging a sense of belonging, volunteering, and conservation.

“We recognise the importance of cultivating a robust national identity that anchors our Emirati students in their culture. The launch of the National Identity Mark and inspection framework will provide parents with valuable insights into the quality of national identity programs within private schools. For many parents, the reinforcement of national identity via education is of critical importance as it helps instill in their children a sense of belonging and pride,” said Sara Musallam, Minister of State for Early Education, chairman of the Federal Agency for Early Childhood, and Adek chairman.

Empowering parents

“By strengthening national identity through educational programmes, schools can support students to further appreciate their roots, traditions, and values. The National Identity Mark will increase transparency and accountability, while enabling parents to make informed decisions about their children’s education. This directly supports the development of well-rounded individuals who are proud of their Emirati identity, and are equipped to positively represent Abu Dhabi and the UAE on a global scale,” she added.

Rating structure

National Identity Mark rankings will be evaluated separately from Adek’s annual Irtiqa’a Inspection, which covers the performance standards of the emirate’s private schools, and provides recommendations for improved performance. With ratings for Phase 1 set to be announced at the end of the current academic year, schools will be ranked as Outstanding, Good, Acceptable, or Weak based on the quality of their national identity programmes.

The implementation of the new ratings system will assess curricula and school culture to help ensure educational equity, transparency, and accountability across all Abu Dhabi private schools that have enrolled Emirati students. In addition, schools will be given the opportunity to further enhance and develop their national identity programs.

ADEK will prioritise schools with the highest number of Emirati students in the first phase. Schools without national enrolment can request evaluation if they have relevant programmes and activities that immerse expatriate students in the rich heritage of the country.