KHDA to regulate Dubai Nurseries and ELCs

The KHDA has announced that it will now regulate and license all Dubai nurseries, kindergartens and Early Learning Centres. Previously, only a handful of Early Learning Centres were under the governance of the KHDA, with the remainder of the sector regulated by the Ministry of Education (MOE).
KHDA to regulate Dubai Nurseries and ELCs
By Jenny Mollon
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The KHDA will become the regulator for all nurseries, kindergartens and Early Learning Centres in Dubai. The move was announced as part of the Executive Council Resolution No. (35) of 2020, recently issued by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, to regulate Early Childhood Centres in the emirate. Previously, the vast majority of the early childhood sector in Dubai was regulated by the Ministry of Education.

The resolution is said to focus heavily on quality of care and wellbeing in the Early Childhood Sector.

Speaking about the change, Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of KHDA said,

“The Resolution marks the beginning of new connections and relationships for the Dubai education community. Early childhood education and care represent a significant part of our education landscape. When we all work together, we will be able to empower early learning centres to share the best of what they do, and also connect them more closely with schools and universities in Dubai. Through these new relationships, parents can be assured that their children will be getting a high-quality learning experience from the very beginning.”

The news has been welcomed by many in the sector. Siog Moore, owner and Manager of one of Dubai’s longest established nurseries, Little Land, told

We welcome the news that we now come under the umbrella of the KHDA, who are always very encouraging. They visited us last week and we were thrilled when the inspector commented that our efforts were remarkable. Of course, providing high quality, well-being centered education right from that start has always been our foundation and we look forward to having the expertise of KHDA supporting us in continuing to provide that to our families”.

Mohammed Darwish, CEO of Regulations and Permits Commission at KHDA, said the move is part of a broader plan for the early childhood sector. He commented:

“We’re working closely with operators and parents to introduce a series of smart services that will give better access to early childhood education and care in Dubai, which is in line with our plan to provide a more consistent regulatory experience for education providers and families in Dubai.”

There are more than 200 early learning centres and nurseries in Dubai.  The KHDA will also review each centre’s advertising and promotional materials prior to publication, as it does for schools. It will also establish a verified database of the early childhood education and care sector. Whether we will see published inspection reports for nurseries, in line with schools, is not yet clear.

The early childhood sector has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Nurseries were closed significantly longer than schools, and have only been permitted to reopen at 50% capacity. As a result, a large number of nurseries have permanently closed their doors.

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