Abu Dhabi: A dozen new schools with a combined capacity of 12,000 seats have already opened for the 2011/2012 academic year, a senior representative at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has revealed.

"This means there are currently 55 licensed private schools across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and we expect additional 10 or 12 schools to open their doors next September," said Brian Fox, Division Manager for Licensing and Accreditation at the council.

"There are several Asian-based schools we expect to be opened in April 2012 in time for their new academic year," he added.

The curriculum of choice for most of the schools is either British or American. However, there are also many Asian curriculum-based schools, primarily following the CBSE and CBSEI programmes.

Expansion process

"In addition to the new schools, there are also several that we had provided assistance for expansion process, especially for those that are accepting students that attended villa schools before they were closed as part of our plan to close down all villa schools by 2013 due to health and safety concerns," Fox said.

The official stressed that all the new schools will receive school inspections within the next six months to ensure that all of Adec's requirements are met. Those that fail to do so will be subject to the council's policies on a case by case basis.

"The licences for these schools are currently on a provisional phase and we will carry out inspections that focus not only on the physical aspect of the school and its health and safety aspects, but we will also check how well their students are performing, the school's teaching and learning methods among other elements. If they pass, they will receive a one-year operational licence. If they fail, they will go back to their provisional licence until they pass or are subject to our policies," Fox said.

Addressing parental concerns regarding affordability, he noted that there are various factors that make up a private school's fee but reaffirmed Adec's commitment to ensure that schooling is affordable to parents while at the same time allowing schools to raise fees on case by case basis.

"The majority of private schools are for profit because they have to return on the investment made by their stakeholders in addition to their miscellaneous costs, both operational and otherwise. Parents sometimes also forget that fees are relative to each grade," Fox said.

12 new private schools in operation across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for the 2011/2012 academic year

Some of the new schools that opened their doors for the 2011/2012 academic year

  • Al Bateen School, Abu Dhabi
  • Emirates National School, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi
  • International School of Al Ain, Al Ain
  • Al Ain International Private School, Al Ain
  • American School of Bani Yas, Western Region
  • Glenelg Madinat Zayed branch, Western Region


Deficiencies to be rectified

As part of its plans to address the deficiencies in the Cycle 3 curriculum in public schools that is causing Emirati pupils to struggle once they graduate, the Abu Dhabi Education Council announced that it will bring together stakeholders outside the field of education, as well as professionals responsible for education, including the UAE Ministry of Education, the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Abu Dhabi Center for Technical and Vocational Education and Training. This was revealed during Adec's "Creating Pathways to Success" Forum, which took place yesterday at the Paris Sorbonne University.