Abu Dhabi Education Council's (ADEC) director general Dr Amal Al Qubaisi has announced the biggest shake up in UAE school inspections to date.
Speaking to Education Journal Middle East, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi said ADEC and the KHDA had been working together with the Ministry of Education to create a new inspection system to be rolled out across the country in time for the 2015/16 inspection cycle.
Dr Amal Al Qubaisi told the publication, "because of the success of the inspection system that Abu Dhabi Education Council launched six years ago, the Ministry of Education at the federal level asked if they can use these methods and the great results we've had into having a system that we can unify."
"The Abu Dhabi Education Council always supports all educational institutions on a federal level and the local level. Hand in hand with the KHDA in Dubai and the ministry, we have put together a system based on our experience and all the knowledge we have, and now it will be launched at the federal level so that we have a unified system," she noted.
A newly released KHDA publication states, "this unified UAE School Inspection Framework represents the synthesis of many previous inspection and school improvement models, and the culmination of many years of hard work across the Emirates. It is a giant step forward – a unified approach to moving education closer to the 2021 vision."
"The UAE School Inspection Framework has been designed to support the inspection of the full range of schools in the UAE that provide education to students from the early years to the end of secondary education. Inspectors will take full account of the proprietorial and governance systems that characterise all schools when applying the framework."
The new KHDA framework differs from old in that it has a strong emphasis on innovation, social responsibility and a new requirement of curricula to include social studies for all nationalities regardless of their religion, and to have a better understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures.
The new inspection system will comprise six rating levels and could be seen as a possible compromise between the KHDA's current four and ADEC's eight.
"The criteria are almost the same. The rating system – in Abu Dhabi we have a more divided rating system, this one will be around six points, to make it similar to both current systems, so when it's introduced at the federal level, it will be easier to implement," said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi.
According to the KHDA, the new ratings will be as follows: Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Acceptable, Weak and Very Weak.
While there has been no mention on the frequency of the new inspections, (ADEC inspects every two years, while the KHDA each year), schools across Dubai rated both 'Good' and Outstanding' have been consistent in their call for a drop in inspection frequency, noting the time and resources required annually detract from their services.
Interestingly, while the KHDA inspections have previously been performed by 'in-house' inspectors, ADEC's are currently outsourced to a private company. Although Dr Amal Al Qubaisi didn't elaborate further on this aspect she did note that with both systems currently in place, the new inspections will more closely resemble those used in Abu Dhabi.