Dubai: British schools in Dubai will have to be inspected and certified by the British government under a new agreement.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and the UK's Department for Education reached a consensus yesterday following the visit to the UAE of John Hayes, Briain's Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning.
The move is part of an effort by both countries to improve the quality of schools in the emirate.
Revealing the move in an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Hayes said the inspections would "see to it that the schools are actually imparting British standard of education".
"This is a very important agreement and a very good illustration of close cooperation between the two countries," he said.
He added that by having a common framework "we can guarantee consistent quality".
Initially, the inspection will be voluntary although in future it will be required by any school wanting British School Overseas certification.
"By achieving UK inspection-based approval, participating schools will be able to demonstrate that they provide a British education that has similar characteristics to an education in an independent school in the UK," said Jameela Al Muhairi, Chief of Dubai School Inspection Bureau at KHDA.
There are 54 private schools in Dubai that offer the UK curriculum, and according to Jameela, any which considers itself British can apply to be inspected.
"Schools which wish to retain their status as British schools under the education permit are encouraged to apply for registration for inspection," added Jameela.
"BSO inspections are rigorous and independent.
"The inspection reports enable parents, the school and other stakeholders to see how the school measures up against the standards that apply to independent schools in the UK, taking into account local requirements."
The DSIB and BSO inspections will be carried out simultaneously in order to minimise disruption to teachers and classes.
But Jameela insisted both are distinct frameworks which contain detailed standards.
"Some of these standards are similar, while others are specific to each individual framework," she said.
"For example, both DSIB and BSO evaluate the effectiveness of teaching in promoting learning skills and progress.
"In addition, BSO evaluates how well the teaching enables students to enter or re-enter the UK education system at an appropriate level."
The KHDA is also working on a similar quality assurance scheme for US curriculum schools in Dubai.
It is currently in discussion with several US accreditation bodies.