Asian International School in Madinat Zayed is a CBSE curriculum school established in 1987. It is one of three schools owned by the same group.
The story so far...
Asian International Private School was established in 1987 and moved to newly refurbished premises in Zayed City in May 2012. It is one of three schools belonging to a chain within the UAE and should not be confused with its larger and higher-performing sister, Asian International School Ruwais. AIS Madinat Zayed's vision is to “create an environment in which children can foster retention and transfer their learning experience into wider areas of life that await them” and it aims to achieve this by having a ‘harmonious blend of moral, cultural and modern system of education creating a unique ethos of transcending all kinds of narrow and parochial barriers’.
AIS Madinat Zayed states that it aims
"to build a school where achievement is elevated and every child is able to develop and sustain an integrated multidisciplinary environment that facilitates excellence in creativity teaching , where learning is fun and value of each individual is evident. We aim to provide International best education practices appropriate to the cultural, intellectual and social needs of the students. We set children high but achievable targets to reach the desired level where they identify the next steps for improvement .We offer an environment of togetherness enabling and infusing the pupil with secular human spirit of Brotherhood, Amity, Love and National Integration. AIS strives to educate and mould our student community as integrated and impressive personalities to step into the competitive and challenging external world".
The original move to new premises facilitated a doubling of the school roll from 365 to 649 within two years. Today, based on the last ADEK inspection report of 2016-17, some 689 girls and boys are organised into four sections: Kindergarten (KG) with 147 children, Grades 1 – 5 with 360 students, Grades 6 ‐ 9 with 133 students and Grades 10-12 with just 39 students.
The school has identified 16 students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and 34 who are Gifted or Talented. Students from 21 nationalities are represented in the school of whom 34% are Indian, 29% Pakistani, and 13% Bangladeshi.
Growth at the school has essentially stagnated, despite the relocation to the new premises. How much of this is due to the school's historically weak ADEK rating is hard to say. Parents at the school will no doubt be encouraged to see that in the 2016-17 inspection, the school achieved an Acceptable rating - the minimum level expected by the Regulator.
Some 40+ teachers and teaching assistants support the students, with a teacher:student ratio of 1:24 in the KG section, and 1:14 across the rest of the school. Whilst the ratio in the KG is on the high side, the rest of the school is well served by its lower ratio, which should permit teachers to provide specific attention and personalised curriculum adaptation for individual students. However, this is clearly dependent on the ability of teachers to assess students' needs accurately and adapt the curriculum accordingly.
Teacher turnover, at 7%, is very low by UAE International school standards, where the norm is 20-22% per annum. This stability can be both a strength and a weakness. In a school where improvement is clearly needed, fresh blood, through the employment of new staff with experience that can support the school's development needs, may be the preferred option.
What about the curriculum?
Principal, Molly D'Coutho, informs us that "the school is affiliated with the CBSE, India. We abide [by] the Board’s prime focus on innovations in teaching –learning methodologies by devising student friendly and student centered paradigms and the reforms made in examinations and evaluation practices in updating and pedagogical skills of teachers by participating in the various service workshops and training programmes. We emphasise on holistic development of learners and try to provide a stress free learning environment to our children".
According to the school, the curriculum has been designed "to nurture multiple intelligences like linguistic or verbal intelligence, logical mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, sports intelligence, musical intelligence, inter-personal intelligence and intra-personal intelligence. We rely also in the core components like development of Perspectives, Research, Life Skills, and SEWA (Social Empowerment thorough Work and Action)".
In common with many CBSE curriculum schools, creative and Arts options are somewhat limited - and become still more so as students move up through the school. The school offers only a Commerce stream for Grades XI and XII - something that ADEK's inspectors noted and commented on as follows: "This is likely to be having a negative impact on enrolment at the high phase and is an important weakness".
The core curriculum from Grades I to V includes English, Mathematics, Science/EVS, Social Science, Computer Science, Islamic Studies/Value Education (the latter for non-Muslims), and Arabic for both native and non-native speakers. A second language - Hindi or Urdu - together with UAE Social Studies is offered from Grade IV. In addition, PE is compulsory for all students. The curriculum remains much the same from Grades VI to X with Environmental Science appearing to be dropped from the subject list and Value Education being replaced by Moral Science.
However, the real reduction in subject options occurs in Grades XI to XII where (unusually, in our experience) only a Commerce stream is offered with the subjects of English, Economics, Business Studies, Accountancy and Informatics Practices provided. It is perhaps little wonder that the final two grades leading to the CBSE Standard XII examinations seems so unpopular among students and/or their parents.
Sports activities are compulsory for all students and include Indoor and Outdoor games such as Football, Basket Ball, Volley Ball, Cricket, Badminton,Yoga, Karate, and Dance.
Little seems to happen outside school hours. Asian International Madinat Zayed has a very limited number of extracurricular activities. These are Literacy, Eco, Heritage and Maths Clubs, as well as Art & Craft, and Yoga which are offered to all grades up to Grade X.
What about academic achievement?
Unlike its sister school at Ruwais, Asian International School Madinat Zayed does not publish any information about the academic successes of its students in Grades X and XII. This is a great pity, as its students are denied the opportunity to have their successes shared. The latest ADEK report suggests that students' attainment is above average compared with similar schools. The 2016 CBSE external examination results show students reaching very good standards in English and acceptable standards in mathematics and science. What a shame that the school does not make more of its success! ADEK's inspection report notes that almost all students go on to further education or gain employment.
Whilst most Indian curriculum schools tend to concentrate on their top students (Toppers), we at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com are always encouraged when schools provide their average score for all students - a broader measure of performance - together with details of the number of students entered for the exams. We hope that AIS Madinat Zayed will make such information available to prospective students and their parents at some point.
What about the facilities?
AIS Madinat Zayed provides very little information about the facilities available to students, other than to note that separate Science labs for Biology, Physics and Chemistry are provided, together with the basic resources of a library, clinic and counselling service.
The most recent ADEK report notes that "Accommodation and resources are acceptable. Recently, the school was freshly painted. More toilets for KG children are being constructed based on the recommendation from the previous inspection report. All teachers have laptops, and accommodation for PE, science and the computer laboratory is adequate. The classrooms are spacious and have interactive white boards, although the furniture needs repair in a few classrooms.The school now has a bigger prayer room;it is still too small for the number of students".
What the inspectors say
After initial inspections that rated AIS Madinat Zayed as C7 (Very Weak) improving to C6 (Weak) under the original ADEK 8 scale grading system, the school achieved an Acceptable rating in 2016-17.
In fact, four of the key performance standards achieved the Acceptable rating - Students' Achievement, Teaching and Assessment, The protection, care, guidance and support of students, and Leadership and Management. The remaining two key performance standards - Students' personal and social development, and their innovation skills, and Curriculum - were rating Good and Weak respectively. Whilst the school has clearly made progress on its path to improvement, the fact that the Curriculum is "still in need of significant improvement", suggests that there is still a long way to go.
The inspection team's introduction to the report summarises the progress made since the last inspection in a nutshell:
...the school’s leadership has taken decisive action to bring about a marked improvement in teaching which is much improved because of an effective professional development programme. This has had a major impact on the quality of achievement in Islamic education, social studies,English, mathematics and science. For the few students in [the] high phase who sit the external Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examinations, attainment is above average when compared to other similar schools. Arrangements for assessing students’ progress lack accuracy and information is not used sufficiently to shape students’ learning. The curriculum is generally not well adapted to meet the range of students’ needs, and it is narrow for the few students at the high phase where the school only offers the commerce stream.
The inspection team identified the following strengths of AIS Madinat Zayed:
Key areas that require improvement are:
In our previous review for Asian International School Madinat Zayed, our team at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com was concerned about the standards at AIS and reluctant to suggest it as an option for families seeking a low cost CBSE curriculum. Whilst there have been improvements, we will only be truly convinced that this school is on the way to delivering a good quality of education, if the next inspection report reflects further progress - this is due for publication in 2018-19. Currently we would suggest that Asian International School in Ruwais may be a better option, given its Good rating and broader curriculum options - at least for Senior students.
As yet we have had too few parents complete our School Opinion Survey to be able to publish parental feedback. If you are a parent at Asian International School Madinat Zayed, please share your thoughts on the school for the benefit of prospective students and their parents, by completing our survey here.
Inevitably though, some parents will have no choice but to send their children to this school simply out of a dearth of choice - Indian curriculum schools are few and far between in the emirate's outlying regions, and especially so at this price point.
Fees range from AED 3,600 per year for KG1 to AED 5,100 for Grade 12.
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