Six out of the 79 public schools in Dubai were ranked as outstanding as results of inspections held across the emirate by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) were announced Thursday.
Only one institution was rated as unsatisfactory, while 33 schools were ranked as good and 39 as acceptable.
Officials said there had been significant overall improvement considering that there were no outstanding public schools three years ago, when the schools underwent inspections for the first time.
Areas for improvement
However, the report also identified clear areas for improvement. The main concerns include poor performance in Mathematics and Science and weak leadership in schools.
However, this is the last year that public schools are being inspected by KHDA. Starting next year, the Ministry of Education will take up the responsibility.
The outstanding schools are Al Bara'ah Kindergarten, Al Manhal Kindergarten, Al Nokhbah Model School, Al Qeyam Model School, Childhood Development Centre Kindergarten and Umm Suqaim Primary School. Three of these are kindergartens, two are cycle 1 schools and one is a cycle 2 girls school.
The Mohammad Noor School was rated unsatisfactory.
Increase in students
"Inspections this year found that 22 per cent of public school students are getting a better standard of education now than they were last year. Over the three years of inspection, 21 schools have improved their overall performance," Dr Abdullah Al Karam, director-general of the KHDA said, announcing the results.
The number of students in good schools increased from 10,892 last year to 12,434 this year and in acceptable schools from 11,274 last year to 12,874 this year.
The 79 public schools teach 27,213 students, which accounts for 15 per cent of the city's school-going population. The remaining attend the 136 private schools in the emirate whose inspection results were made public by KHDA last month. Coincidently, the number of outstanding private schools was also six.
Half public schools good or outstanding
Almost half the public schools are now in the good or outstanding categories, a 10 per cent improvement since the first round of inspections, said Jameela Al Muhairi, chief of the Dubai School Inspection Bureau at the KHDA said.
There has been significant improvement in kindergartens, with three quarters of them now providing good or outstanding quality of education, compared to less than half in 2008-09. The number of unsatisfactory schools have declined from 5 in 2008-09 to one this year, and acceptable schools from 43 in 2008-09 to 39 this year.
She recalled how inspections were an entirely new concept when first launched. "It was in the second year that we realised that there was an obvious improvement and a growing understanding of the need for quality assurance. We now have six outstanding public schools; in our first year there were none."
The obstacles faced by many schools were the same as in previous years but it was strong leadership in some that had fosterd improvements, Al Muhairi said.
"Dubai has achieved an outstanding position in the map of educational development by focusing on accountability and putting in place a system of reliable data based on the performance of schools," said Fatma Al Marri, CEO of Dubai Schools Agency at the KHDA.
The inspection report documents the progress made by the schools. It also describes some of the best practices encountered by inspectors during inspection visits and provides direction regarding the way forward.
Ahmad Mohammad Al Shaiba, a member of the board of trustees for model schools, who attended the announcement of the inspection results said: "In the first year, I thought the inspections were just another thing for publicity and that its results would only be the positive aspects and nothing critical."