Distance Learning a Success, Claims KHDA

Over two thirds of schools offer a fully developed online, distance learning platform, says the KHDA, Dubai's education regulator, and only one school in the whole of the emirate has a system which is not developed at all... Below we detail the ratings in detail. How did your school do, and do you agree?
Distance Learning a Success, Claims KHDA
By David Westley
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LET'S GO

More than two-thirds of private schools in Dubai offer a ‘developed’ level of distance learning, at least according to Dubai's education regulator, the KHDA following its recently-released Distance Learning Evaluation (DLE).

According to the KHDA, the DLE "supports schools to identify areas of improvement, and helps parents to make the right school choice for their children". It categorises schools’ proficiency at providing distance learning as ‘Developed’, ‘Partially Developed’, or ‘Not Developed’.

According to the regulator, 67% of Dubai’s private schools now offer a ‘Developed’ level of provision; 32% offer ‘Partially Developed’ solution, and 1% (one school) is said to be ‘Not Developed’ in terms of its distance learning platform.

Where is your school?

School Name Curriculum Distance Learning Overall Rating
Al Adab Iranian Private School for Boys Iranian Partially Developed
Al Arqm Private School MOE Partially Developed
Al Basateen Private Nursery MOE Partially Developed
Al Basateen Private Nursery Hatta branch MOE Partially Developed
Al Diyafah High School UK Partially Developed
Al Eman Educational Est ( Al Eman private School ) MOE Partially Developed
Al Ittihad Private school US Developed
Al Ittihad Private School (BR) US Developed
Al Maaref Private School (LLC) US Partially Developed
AL MAWAKEB SCHOOL - AL BARSHA US Developed
AL MAWAKEB SCHOOL - AL GARHOUD US Developed
Al Mawakeb School Al Khawaneej US Developed
Al Nibras International private School US Developed
Al Rashid Al Saleh Private School MOE Developed
Al Sadiq Islamic English School UK Partialy Developed
Al Salam Community School UK Developed
Al Salam Private School UK Developed
Al Shurooq Private School MOE Partially Developed
Ambassador International Academy IB Developed
Ambassador Kindergarten Indian Developed
Ambassador School Indian Developed
American Academy for Girls US Partially Developed
American International School US Partially Developed
American School of Creative Science US Partially Developed
American School of Dubai US Developed
Amity School L.L.C Indian Developed
AMLED SCHOOL Indian Partially Developed
Apple International School UK Partially Developed
Arab Unity School UK Partially Developed
Arcadia High School UK Developed
Arcadia School UK Developed
Bilva Indian School Indian Developed
Bright Riders School Indian Partially Developed
Brighton College Dubai UK Developed
Buds Public School Indian Partially Developed
Cambridge International School UK Developed
CAPITAL SCHOOL. UK Developed
Clarion School US Developed
Collegiate American School US Developed
CREDENCE HIGH SCHOOL Indian Developed
Crescent English School Indian Partially Developed
Dar Al Marefa School IB Developed
Deira International School UK Developed
Deira Private School UK Developed
Delhi Private School Indian Developed
DEWA Academy MOE Partially Developed
Dove Green Private School UK Partially Developed
Dubai Arabian American Private School US Partially Developed
Dubai British School UK Developed
Dubai British School Jumeirah Park UK Developed
Dubai Carmel School UK Partially Developed
Dubai College UK Developed
Dubai English Speaking private college -branch UK Developed
Dubai English Speaking School UK Developed
Dubai Gem Private School UK Developed
Dubai Heights Academy UK/IB Developed
Dubai International Academy IB Developed
Dubai International Academy Al Barsha IB Developed
Dubai International private School US Partially Developed
Dubai International private School - BR US Developed
Dubai Modern Education School US Partially Developed
Dubai National School US Developed
Dubai National School ( Branch) US Partially Developed
Dubai Scholars Private School UK Developed
Dunecrest American School IB Developed
Dwight School LLC IB Developed
Elite English School Indian Partially Developed
Emirates International private School L.L.C IB Developed
Emirates International School (Meadows) IB Developed
English Language Private School UK Partially Developed
Fairgreen International School IB Partially Developed
Foremarke School UK Developed
GEMS Al Barsha National School For Girls UK Developed
GEMS Al Khaleej National School US Developed
GEMS AlBarsha National School for Boys UK Developed
GEMS Dubai American Academy US Developed
GEMS FirstPoint School UK Developed
GEMS Founders School UK Developed
GEMS Founders School - Mizhar UK Developed
GEMS Heritage Indian School (Br of GEMS Wellington Academy FZE) - Dubai Branch Indian Developed
GEMS International School- Al Khail IB Developed
GEMS Jumeirah Primary School UK Developed
GEMS Metropole School UK Developed
GEMS Modern Academy Indian Developed
GEMS New Millennium School L.L.C Indian Developed
GEMS Our Own English High School Indian Developed
GEMS Our Own Indian School Indian Developed
GEMS Royal Dubai School UK Developed
GEMS United School US Developed
GEMS Wellington Academy- Al Khail UK Developed
GEMS WELLINGTON ACADEMY -FZE UK Developed
GEMS Wellington International School UK Developed
GEMS Wellington Primary School UK Developed
GEMS Winchester School UK Developed
GEMS World Academy IB Developed
German International School Dubai German Developed
Global Indian International School L.L.C Indian Developed
Grammar School UK Partially Developed
GreenField International School IB Developed
Greenwood International School US Developed
Gulf Indian High School Indian Developed
Gulf Model School Indian Partially Developed
H. H. Shaikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistani School-Dubai ( English Lang) Pakistani Partially Developed
Hartland International School UK Developed
Himayah Kindergarten for Education- Karama MOE Partially Developed
Himayah School for Education Boys - Diera (Abu Hail) MOE Partially Developed
Himayah School for Education Girls - Al Karama MOE Partially Developed
Horizon International School - LLC UK Developed
Horizon English School UK Developed
Icademy Middle East FZ.LLC US Developed
Ignite School US Partially Developed
International Academic School US Partially Developed
INTERNATIONAL CONCEPT EDUCATION IB Developed
International School of Arts & Sciences US Developed
International School of Creative Science UK Developed
Iranian Khadije Kobra School Iranian Partially Developed
Iranian Salman Farsi Boys School Iranian Partially Developed
Iranian Towheed Boys School Iranian Partially Developed
Iranian Towheed Girls School Iranian Partially Developed
Islamic School for Training & Education MOE Partially Developed
Japanese School Japanese Partially Developed
Jebel Ali School UK Developed
JSS International School LLC Indian Developed
JSS PRIVATE SCHOOL LLC Indian Developed
Jumeira Baccalaureate School IB Developed
Jumeirah College UK Developed
Jumeirah English Speaking School UK Developed
Jumeirah English Speaking School (Br) UK Developed
Kent College Dubai UK Developed
Kings' School Al Barsha UK Developed
Kings' School Dubai UK Developed
Kings' School Nad Al Sheba UK Developed
Latifa School for Girls UK Developed
Little Flowers English school Indian Partially Developed
Lycee Francais International French Developed
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou Primary Oud Metha French Developed
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou School ( Dubai Branch ) French Developed
Lycee Francais Jean Mermoz French Developed
Lycee Libanais Francophone Prive-Dubai French Developed
MIRDIF AMERICAN SCHOOL US Partially Developed
Modern Skills School US Partially Developed
MSB Private School UK Developed
National Charity School-Boys and Girls MOE Partially Developed
New Academy School US Developed
New Indian Model School Indian Partially Developed
New World School Private MOE Partially Developed
Newlands School UK Partially Developed
Next Generation School US Partially Developed
Nord Anglia International School UK Developed
North American International School US Developed
North London Collegiate School Dubai IB Developed
Oaktree Primary School UK Developed
Our Own High School Indian Developed
Oxford School UK Partially Developed
Pakistan Educational Academy Pakistani Partially Developed
Pearl Wisdom School LLC Indian Partially Developed
Philadelphia Private School US Partially Developed
Primus Private School LLC Indian Developed
Pristine Private School UK Developed
Queen International School UK Partially Developed
Raffles International School -Um Suqeim South BR UK Developed
Raffles World Academy UK Developed
Ranches Primary School UK Developed
Rashid School for Boys UK Partially Developed
Regent International Private School UK Developed
Renaissance School US Not developed
Repton School UK Developed
Rising School LLC US Partially Developed
Riverston School Dubai UK Partially Developed
Russian International School Russian Developed
Sabari Indian School LLC Indian Developed
Safa British School UK Developed
Safa Community School UK Developed
Sharjah American International Private school US Developed
Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Islamic Institute MOE Partially Developed
Smart Vision School UK Partially Developed
South View School L.L.C UK Developed
Springdales School LLC Indian Developed
St. Mary Catholic High School Dubai - Al Muhaisnah UK Partially Developed
St. Mary Catholic High School-Dubai UK Developed
Star International School UK Developed
Star International School ( Branch ) UK Developed
Sunmarke School UK Developed
Swiss International Scientific School IB Developed
The Alpha School LLC UK Developed
The Aquila School UK Developed
The Arbor School UK Developed
The Central School Indian Partially Developed
The City School International Private UK Partially Developed
The English College Dubai UK Developed
The Indian Academy Indian Developed
The Indian High School Indian Developed
The Indian High School-Branch Indian Developed
The Indian International School (DSO Branch) Indian Developed
The International School of Choueifat US Partially Developed
The International School of Choueifat - Branch US Partially Developed
The Kindergarten Starters Indian Developed
The Millenium School Indian Developed
The Philippine School Philippine Partially Developed
The School of Research Science (Provisional trial) UK Developed
The Sheffield Private School UK Developed
The Westminster School UK Developed
The Winchester School UK Developed
United International Private School Philippine Partially Developed
Universal American School - Branch US Developed
Uptown International School IB Developed
Victory Heights Primary School UK Developed

Every school rated ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Good’ by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau in the 2018/19 academic year was found to offer ‘Developed’ distance learning. 80% of schools rated ‘Good’ and 26% of schools rated ‘Acceptable’ also offered ‘Developed’ distance learning provision.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director general of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority said:

“Earlier this year, school leaders, teachers, parents and students in Dubai had to respond very quickly to a completely new way of teaching and learning.  They’ve shown great resilience, commitment and love during this period, and we’re grateful for their effort.

“The DLE was put in place to give us a common language and measure to talk about the quality of distance education. Because schools will provide options of face-to-face and distance learning next academic year, the DLE will help parents to get a complete picture of the quality of education their children are receiving, and will help schools to provide even better quality learning, no matter where it takes place.”

Schools have been quick to celebrate their successes. 

"I’m delighted that every single Al Najah school in Dubai achieved the highest possible rating in the recent DLE, Raza Khan, CEO Al Najah Education told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. "This is testament to our excellent leadership and teachers who were able to mobilize e-learning as soon as the school closures were announced. We are just as well prepared now to welcome all our children back into our schools every day from September."

At GEMS Education, Deputy Chief Education Officer Jodh Singh Dhesi praised the 'flexibility and hard work' of the group's teachers and students, saying that;

“We are delighted that all of the evaluations for our schools are in the very top tier. It is testament to the flexibility and sheer hard work of our teachers and students, supported by their leaders and families respectively.

Unprecedented events call for unprecedented measures, and to have successfully transferred online the teaching of 8,000 practitioners and the learning of 120,000 students while maintaining the highest academic standards and the satisfaction of our parents is something that we are very proud of. The GEMS Education commitment to high quality learning through investment in technology and our people has certainly brought about results and we are very happy that our regulators have recognised these efforts.”   Jodh Singh Dhesi, Deputy Chief Education Officer, GEMS Education

Distance learning evaluations were based on three main areas: how well students were learning and how well their wellbeing was safeguarded; how well teachers were teaching and monitoring students’ learning; and how well school leaders were managing students’ learning across the school.

Each school’s five-hour evaluation was carried out through discussions with school leaders, review of students’ work, observation of online lessons, and feedback from parents, students and teachers.

When conducting the evaluation, the KHDA paid particular attention to how well students of determination and students with additional needs were catered to. At Kent College Dubai, Principal Anthony Cashin felt that high quality communication underpinned the school’s success.  He told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com that;

“Essential to the successful digital transformation at Kent has been the strong levels of communication between pupils, parents, teachers and the school administration team.

We listened to what the pupils and parents were telling us so that we could adjust, respond and evolve. For our older students, our teachers and Learning Support Assistants worked closely through Google Classroom and made sure each pupil was supported individually through Google Hangouts and Zoom lessons.

Our Head of Inclusion, Colette Woolnough, has made sure that the overall approach to Inclusion at Kent College has always been centred around ‘personalisation’ and during the recent period of Distance/Online learning, this became even more important. Across the school, we are all delighted to have achieved the “Developed” rating in the Distance Learning Evaluation”

At Safa British School, Principal Zara Harrington was delighted to report a clean sweep of top ratings in all areas of the evaluation.

"Safa British School is one of only a handful of UK curriculum schools to be awarded 'Developed' in all 11 indicators. During Distance Learning our team provided daily meditation to start the day, as well as brain break activities, yoga and additional education 1:1 and small group work.  As SBS is a true community school, we pride ourselves on supporting the children in partnership with the parents".

The Distance Learning Evaluation is a collaborative initiative between the UAE Ministry of Education, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge and the Sharjah Private Education Authority and KHDA.

In Sharjah and the Northern Emirates

In Sharjah, 70 out of 112 private schools (63 per cent) were rated developed for distance learning, while 42 schools (37 per cent) were partially developed, according to the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA).

Said Dr Muhadditha Al Hashimi, chairman of SPEA:

“We are very proud of schools’ performance and their co-operation and readiness to continue the process of progress; an achievement that is worth preserving by continuing to develop with the assistance of parents as active partners."

More than six in 10 private schools and two in 10 public schools in the Northern Emirates were rated advanced for distance learning by the Ministry of Education.

The ministry assessed all private schools and 29 per cent of government schools in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

The ministry also ranked schools in three categories, with top performers named 'advanced', ahead of partially developed and underdeveloped schools.

The WSA View

There is no doubt that schools across the UAE did a fabulous job at delivering distance learning overnight. However, with just three grades (developed, partly developed and not developed), we cannot help but feel that the grades hide a lot of variation in the delivery. Moreover,  without taking away the incredible work schools have done in such a short space of time, it is obvious that conventional schools would need to invest considerably more in technology, over a considerably longer period, to be able to offer the tools of more sophisticated, pure online learning spaces. 

The good news is that with over one-third of parents wanting online learning to continue according to the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey, there is the possibility, and opportunity, for schools to continue to enhance their offering should they so choose.

We would be hugely interested in your view of how your school has done, and whether you agree with its current rating. If you have a strong opinion, let us know by adding a comment below, or by sending us an email to editor [at] whichschooladvisor.com. 

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