Founded in 1971 Abu Dhabi Indian School is a not-for-profit private K-12 school located near Muroor, Abu Dhabi. Its overall ADEK rating in 2016 was Good. After a fall to Acceptable in the 2017-18 inspection round, ADIS returned to a Good rating in 2019-20.
This is a school with a fascinating history, built from great names from the past.
Initially the school operated from the India Social Centre in Abu Dhabi - which very soon became insufficient for the depth of demand for education in the emirate. As a result, Mohan Jashanmal, CEO of Jashanmal Group, together with other members of the Indian community in the capital, approached the late President of the UAE, H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to discuss extending the school. Sheikh Zayed gifted land measuring 175mx 150m, in Shabia Muroor, New Airport Road, to the Indian Ambassador to build an educational institution. The current Chairman of the School is Dr. B.R. Shetty, a well-known and respected businessman whose NMC Healthcare is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
ADIS's Mission statement says that:
"We are committed to impart the quality education that is holistic in its perspective. Well qualified and experienced staff are appointed to train and develop all kinds skills among the students at various levels i.e. kindergarten, primary, middle, secondary and senior secondary.
Academic achievement is enhanced by energizing the body and the mind through sports and cultural activities. The students attend school in a healthy, harmonious and competitive environment and graduate ready to face the challenges of the world with confidence".
As you would expect, 99.9%, of students come from an Indian background. Less than 1% of students are from a range of other countries, for example, Nepal, the Philippines, France, Kenya and Sudan. Less than 1% of the students are identified as having special educational needs (SEN), the majority of whom have language difficulties.
At the time of the last ADEK inspection in November 2019, ADIS catered to more than 4,700 students in its primary phase (KG to Grade 5), and secondary phase (Grade 6 to 12), making it one of the largest private K-12 schools in the emirate. Boys and girls are segregated (from Grade 3) at the upper primary and secondary levels. In order to meet demand, the school opened a branch in Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi, in 2014, with a current capacity of 2,500 students.
In order to address the movement of such large numbers of students, the school has separated timings for Kindergarten from 8.15.am to 12.30.pm, Classes 1-2 and Girls' classes 3-12 are from 7.15.am to 2.30.pm, whilst Boys' classes operate from 8.15.am to 3.30.pm.
A team of 310 teachers, together with a small number of teaching assistants, is responsible for the day to day education of the students. With teacher turnover at a very low 6%, this is clearly a school where teachers are happy to work. The ADEK inspection team noted that "the school has suitably qualified teachers who benefit from regular training." Class sizes are on the high side with a teacher:student ratio of 1:28. According to the Principal,
"At ADIS, our teachers are innovative, compassionate, approachable and well trained to support and inspire their students for preparing them towards [a] better future. They have always open arms, share a healthy relationship with the students and encourage them to express their ideas and opinions fearlessly. My belief, as an educator, [is that] we need to discover how each child learns, in order to differentiate our instruction to support diverse learning styles; all children are different".
Further, he comments:
"Our School takes pride in nurturing students and besides academic and extracurricular excellence, we emphasize on [sic] the importance of integrity, politeness, kindness and selflessness. Discipline, perseverance, zeal to excel, clarity in thought and decision-making ability are an integral part of our education system as it helps to set and achieve goals and qualities required to meet the challenges of the modern society. I am proud that our staff is valued and the families connected. Our proven track record is testimony to the sincere dedication of our teachers, well supported by the parents who take pride in their ward’s success as student of this truly great Institution".
What about the curriculum?
The school is affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education, India and is licensed by the Ministry of Education's Abu Dhabi Education and Knowledge Dept (ADEK), Abu Dhabi. As such it offers a full CBSE curriculum for Indian students.
In addition to the academic programme, ADIS also offers its students a range of sports and extra-curricula activities. For sports the list is a long one - from Athletics to Cricket, from Badminton to Basketball. Inter-school competitions are also held. Non-sports clubs are also offered - and range from debating to Robotics club.
Whilst students identified with additional learning needs remains relatively low in number (approximately 45 students), the most recent ADEK inspection report upgraded the rating for the protection, care, guidance and support of students to Very Good, noting that "there are effective arrangements to identify, SEN, G&T and more able students. SEN students now receive good support and progress well, [although] the support for G&T and more-able students remains inconsistent."
Additionally, "the school has recruited a special educational need co-ordinator (SENCO) and support staff to give students with special educational needs (SEN) effective support. Students’ educational plans and intervention programmes are shared with the counsellor, teachers and parents and implemented well".
The school moved to the new premises in 1980. Facilities at the school seem adequate, if not on par with some of the latest private schools to open in the UAE. Facilities include four libraries providing students and staff with access to a variety of resources and over 20,000 books. A well-equipped Audio Visual room with a Smart Board and an LCD Projector with a seating capacity of more than 60 is utilised by students for their curricular and co-curricular activities. Art and Craft Rooms offer students the opportunity to explore their creativity through various media.
The ADIS Kindergarten features The Kids’ Activity Room which was established in 2011 as a way to bring exhibitions alive for children and a place where they can play, relax and socialise in a stress-free environment. Students in the Foundation Stage are encouraged to learn by using their sensory abilities.
Fully-fledged laboratories for Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science and Mathematics are provided including 5 Computer Laboratories with almost 100 Client machines with LCD monitors, 3 Server machines and Overhead Projectors. The facilities of the lab are also utilised for promoting experimentation in Robotics. The Mathematics laboratory is a place where students can learn and explore mathematical concepts and verify mathematical facts and theorem through a variety of activities using different materials. The laboratory allows and encourages the students to think, discuss with each other and assimilate the concepts in a more effective manner.
All class rooms and Laboratories are equipped with Interactive LED Panels or Projectors which enable the teachers to use the resources available on the internet for better understanding of students.This digital approach to the teaching/learning process is designed to help enhance the interest of the students in their studies. However, the most recent ADEK report notes that "The school premises are adequate for the implementation of the curriculum. The computer and science labs are well-equipped. The range of ICT resources to promote learning within classrooms is limited".
The challenge for ADIS is less the facilities; more the use of them.
Much is made of the school's ambition for its students and commitment of its staff, and ADEK's inspectors increasingly appear to share the school's self evaluation. The current report notes that "Students’ preparation for and participation in CBSE and IBT, prepare them well for TIMSS and PISA. Results are analysed by staff to benchmark progress and to further support students’ learning."
Like most Indian schools, ADIS does not publish results in a meaningful way that makes comparison between peers easy, so it is difficult to assess actual performance in external examinations. It does have a list of 'Toppers', those students who have done particularly well, but what parents need to know are the percentages of students falling into various bands. With the volume of students coming through ADIS and its peers, that some students do well is hardly surprising.
The school does publish some results on its results page. For 2020-21 Grade 10 results showed that a total of 357 students participated in the examinations, and of these 23 students achieved 95%+, 73 students achieved above 90-95%, 149 secured above 80-90% and 70 secured above 70-80%. 284 students achieved a Distinction at above 75%.
For Grade 12, 191 students appeared for the Science Stream examinations and of these, 88 achieved 90%+, a further 84 students achieved 80-90%, and 19 students achieved between 70-80%. The number of students who sat for the Commerce Stream examinations was approximately half at 99 students, of whom 7 secured 90%+, 32 achieved 80-90% and 40 received 70-80%. 188 of 191 students (98%) achieved a Distinction for a score above 75% in the Science stream, whilst 61 of 99 students (61%) received a Distinction in the Commerce stream. It is evident where the strengths of the school lies.
After having achieved a Good rating in 2015-16, it must have come as something of shock to the school to be demoted to Acceptable in the 2017-18 inspection round. Clearly ADIS has made considerable efforts and progress in the subsequent two years to re-establish itself with the Good rating again in the 2019-20 inspection process.
Summarising the achievements of the school since the previous inspection, the ADEK report notes that:
The overall performance of the school has improved from acceptable to good. Teaching, assessment and the curriculum are now good. Senior leaders, governors and staff have worked tirelessly and successfully to improve students’ outcomes and now achievements in most subjects are at least good in all phases.
The inspection team defined the keys areas of strength of ADIS as:
However, inevitably, the inspection team also defined a number of areas for improvement. These included:
If you would like to read the inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received a limited, but reasonable enough number of responses to our Parent Survey to be able to draw some conclusions in terms of parents' views of the school. The school has achieved a rating of 2.8/5 - a positivity rating of 56%.
As is often the case when a relatively low number of surveys are completed, there are apparently more dissenters than fans! Just over half of students feel 'quite a bit of belonging' to the school, but there is a pretty even split between students who do not enjoy school at all, those who 'like it somewhat' and those who like 'quite a bit'. Only 15% of students enjoy going to school a 'tremendous amount' - well below the UAE average of 55%.
Parents too are not massively impressed. 43% have considered moving their child to another school, whilst only 53% are satisfied with the school's academic performance - though 33% are partially satisfied. A quarter of respondents believe it is necessary to arrange additional tuition outside school. Having said that, 38% of parents are quite confident of the school's ability to meet their child's individual learning needs.
The ADEK inspection team noted as a positive the communication with parents, including the provision for reporting on students’ progress. However, only 43% of respondents to our survey were satisfied with communication and a similar percentage were satisfied with the school's disciplinary policy and its implementation.
Given the mixed views expressed by the parents who have responded to our Survey, it is perhaps not surprising that only 60% of parents would recommend ADIS fully to others (compared with a UAE average of over 80%). 30% of respondents would emphatically not recommend the school.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at ADIS, please help ensure a representative view of your school by sharing your opinions and experiences with other potential members of your community and complete our Survey here.
In common with all Indian curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi, ADIS a very difficult school to get into. In part that is because Abu Dhabi Indian School has enjoyed a strong reputation in the community (despite the feedback from parents to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com) and the school is relatively very affordable.
Tuition fees at the school are mid-range for an Indian curriculum school, ranging from AED 6,040 in KG1 to AED 10,704 for Grade 12 per year (excluding a wide range of additional fees including books and exam fees and other mandatory fees as well as transport and swimming fees). These additional fees can add between AED 500 to AED 2,000 to the overall total depending on grade. Full details for new admissions can be found here. Fees are paid quarterly.
For more information, we do recommend the school's Web site. It is unusually well put together and informative.
The academic year runs from April to March and is divided into two semesters. The main school holidays are Summer break (early July to early September) and the Winter break (mid-December to early January).
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