Schools will have a six-point rating scale Image Credit: Illustrative purpose

Dubai: Dubai private schools will for the first time be inspected under the unified UAE School Inspection Framework for 2015-16 starting in the next few days, a top official said.

Jameela Al Muhairi, chief of Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB), said unlike earlier, “acceptable” and “good” schools will now have a chance to better their ratings to “very good”, in addition to “outstanding” as the framework introduces a six-point scale for the inspections.

“The main difference for Dubai’s private schools which will start using the new framework from the scholastic year 2015-2016 is that the quality of education provided is now rated using a six-level scale, compared to the four-level scale that was used last year. What is particularly noteworthy for Dubai’s private schools is the new 'very good' category, which should serve as an incentive for those currently rated as 'good' to aim for,” said Jameela.


Of the 143 schools inspected on the Dubai-centric scale last year, 14 were rated “outstanding”, 59 “good”, 61 “acceptable” and nine “unsatisfactory”.

Only two “good” schools were able to make it to the “outstanding” bracket. Just 36 per cent or 52 out of the 143 schools improved their overall ratings, while 10 per cent (15) slipped in their performance since the first year of inspections in 2008.

The six levels in the new scale range from “outstanding”, “very good” and “good” to “acceptable”, “weak” and “very weak”. The minimum level for every school is “acceptable”, below which they will now be deemed “weak” or “very weak” instead of the earlier “unsatisfactory”.

Hard work

Jameela said: “The new unified regime is being adopted following a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office to develop a school inspection framework that measures reliably the quality of school performance across the different emirates and is part of the nation’s journey towards meeting the UAE National Agenda goals.”

She said the resulting unified framework represents the synthesis of many previous inspection and school improvement models, and the culmination of many years of hard work across the emirates.

The framework has been developed collaboratively by representatives from the Ministry for Education (MOE), Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA and the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET).

She said all Dubai private schools have been notified about the unified framework and have been sent a copy of the framework. As part of this process, inspectors from KHDA, ADEC and MOE conducted trial inspections in schools across the different emirates last year to ensure their smooth implementation from this year.

Jameela Al Muhairi, chief of Dubai School Inspection Bureau

Unlike earlier inspections, Jameela said the new framework places an increased emphasis on innovation. “Innovation is one of the most effective drivers of economic growth in the modern era for stimulating entrepreneurship and enterprise which is why the UAE aspires to be among the most innovative nations.”

According to the framework, there are several indicators to measure innovation ranging from the way schools are owned, organised and managed to curriculum design, teaching and learning approaches, use of technology, assessments, timetabling and how teachers and leaders are recruited, trained, developed and rewarded.

The schools’ ratings will also depend on how inclusive they are. But the framework clarifies, “Inclusion does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences. The inclusive school will be proactive in identifying barriers which restrict students’ achievement, participation and learning, and will take action to remove obstacles which lead to educational exclusion.” 

New six-point scale

The levels under the UAE School Inspection Framework for 2015-16 are:

Outstanding: Quality of performance substantially exceeds the expectation of the UAE

Very Good: Quality of performance exceeds the expectation of the UAE

Good: Quality of performance meets the expectation of the UAE

Acceptable: Quality of performance meets the minimum level of quality required in the UAE (This is the minimum level for every school in the UAE)

Weak: Quality of performance is below the expectation of the UAE

Very weak: Quality of performance is significantly below the expectation of the UAE