Waiting List Pass for Emiratis to Outstanding Schools - KHDA

Waiting List Pass for Emiratis to Outstanding Schools - KHDA
By David Westley
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Caption: No waiting list to Outstanding schools such as Dubai College - for Emiratis, according to a new KHDA ruling - Gulf News report.

In hopes of increasing the numbers of Emiratis attending outstanding schools the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has introduced an initiative that abolishes waiting lists for Emiratis wanting to attend outstanding schools.

CEO of Dubai Schools Agency at KHDA, Fatima Al Merri told Gulf News, the KHDA "will be supporting parents keen to get their children into outstanding schools. The organisation’s director general Dr Abdullah Al Karam will be on hand to personally deal with enquiries and offer support to parents during the admissions and enrolment process.”

“The quality of teaching and learning in schools [popular with Emiratis] is generally of poor quality and there are few opportunities for students to be creative and be independent learners. In addition, parental engagement tends to be better at good or outstanding schools." Jameela Al Muhairi, Chief of Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau at KHDA.

Presently one per cent out of the 56 per cent of Emirati pupils attending private schools is enrolled in a school rated outstanding by the KHDA due to what the authority said were cultural and social reasons.

According to the Dubai School Inspection Bureau’s (DSIB) 2012 annual report, a total of 18,546 students in the UAE are enrolled in outstanding schools out of which only 135 students are UAE nationals. 56 per cent of Emiratis study in private schools.

The finding is said to be a "major concern" for the authority.


Emiratis Disadvantaged

Having such low numbers of UAE nationals attending outstanding schools has affected their performance in international assessment tests in comparison with expatriates, said Jameela Al Muhairi, Chief of Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau at the KHDA. “The Dubai TIMSS and PIRLS 2011 report shows Emirati students are behind expatriates in academic subjects. However, when enrolled in schools with good or outstanding provision, their attainment levels rise,” she said.

“One of the reasons for parents choosing not to send their children to schools rated outstanding is because most Emirati families tend to prefer schools which are characterised by a more traditional setting and attended by other Emiratis or Arabs.

"Outstanding schools in Dubai are more likely to be international and have large numbers of expatriate students which might not appeal to Emirati families,” said Fatima Al Merri.


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