United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Madinat Zayed / Asian International School Madinat Zayed

Asian International School Madinat Zayed Review

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.
Parents' Rating
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2.8 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
AED 4,500
Annual fees
AED 4,000–5,650
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
1987
School year
Apr to Mar
Teacher turnover help
7%
Principal
Mrs Molly D'Coutho
Main teacher nationality
India
Main student nationality
India
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Asian International School Madinat Zayed
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
AED 4,500
Annual fees
AED 4,000–5,650
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
1987
School year
Apr to Mar
Teacher turnover help
7%
Principal
Mrs Molly D'Coutho
Main teacher nationality
India
Main student nationality
India
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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 (AIS) 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.   

We understand that a second branch school of AIS Madinat Zayed is also open and operating for students from KG to Grade 10. At the time of writing (March 2022), the school website is not functional and the TAMM website has no detailed information. A separate review will be written once further information becomes available.

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 2018-19 numbers have increased slightly to some 665 girls and boys (though this has declined from a high of nearly 690 in 2017) who are organised into four sections: Kindergarten (KG), Grades 1 – 5, Grades 6 ‐ 9 and Grades 10-12. Approximately half of the student numbers are in the Primary section, with a quarter in the KG and the balance in the Secondary section of the school.

Growth at the school has essentially stagnated, despite the relocation to 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 have been encouraged to see that in the 2016-17 inspection, the school achieved an Acceptable rating - the minimum level expected by the Regulator - and this was repeated in the 2018-19 inspection. However, this does not appear to have provided a substantial increase in enrollments.

The school has identified some 45 students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and a smaller number who are Gifted or Talented. Students from 21 nationalities are represented in the school of whom 30% are Indian, 23% Pakistani, and 13% Bangladeshi.

Some 35 teachers and 6 teaching assistants support the students, with a teacher:student ratio of 1:19 across the school.  Teacher turnover, at 7%, is very low by UAE International school standards, where the norm is 20-22% per annum, although this does tend to be lower in Asian-led schools. 

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. 

The latest inspection report appears to support our thoughts in this context, noting that "The principal has been in post for many years. New governors have been appointed to support improvement through regular visits to the school to monitor its performance. A head of Arabic faculty has been appointed to lead improvement initiatives in Arabic-medium subjects." 

What about the curriculum?

AIS offer the CBSE curriculum. 

Principal, Molly D'Coutho, informs us that:
"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 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 2017-18 inspection report noted that almost all students go on to further education or gain employment. 

However, whilst attainment Grade X in core subjects appears to be a strength of the school, recent feedback from the 2018-19 report suggests that achievement at Grade XII was weak.  The school still offers only a Commerce stream despite ADEK's view that the curriculum needed to be broadened.

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 2017-18 ADEK report noted 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.  This achievement was repeated in the 2018-19 academic year when the school was inspected in January 2019. As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, no subsequent inspection has taken place.

It is evident that AIS had made some significant improvements in key areas. Notably, the overall rating for the Curriculum had improved to Acceptable, and the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students had improved to Good.

The inspection team's introduction to the report summarises the progress made since the last inspection in a nutshell:

The overall performance of the school is acceptable. Overall, students’ attainment and progress is acceptable in all phases, but they make good progress in Islamic education, Arabic and social studies where the quality of teaching and assessment are good. The quality of teaching is broadly acceptable overall. School leaders have addressed most areas for development outlined in the previous inspection. They have improved their own evaluation of school standards but do not make consistent use of nationally agreed criteria to make consistent judgments about the school’s performance.

The inspection team identified the following strengths of AIS Madinat Zayed:

  • The impact of school leaders’ actions which have led to improved student achievement and effective teaching in Islamic education, Arabic and social studies, and in science in KG.
  • Students’ behaviour and positive relationships, personal and social development and their understanding of Islamic values and UAE culture.
  • The effective procedures in place for caring for students and for identifying and supporting those who have SEN.

Key actions identified by the inspection team on which AIS needs to focus include the need to:

  • Improve students’ achievement through better quality of teaching in English, mathematics, science and other subjects by:
    - ensuring that teachers improve their use of assessment information to plan lessons which provide focused challenge and support for different groups of students, including high and low attainers
    - providing regular opportunities for students to find out things for themselves, through the use of stimulating resources including new technologies
    - improving the quality of dialogue through the use of challenging questions which probe students’ thinking and assumptions.
  • Develop further the curriculum design, implementation and adaptation by:
    - increasing the emphasis in planning on promoting students’ skill development, especially innovation and creativity, through better use of specialist rooms and facilities
    - broadening the choice of subjects for older students so that they can make choices which will prepare them well for the next stages of their education
    - identifying and addressing remaining gaps in provision, such as mathematics and science for the oldest students.
  • Increase school leaders’ strategies for self-evaluation to address inconsistencies in the rate of overall improvement by:
    - introducing more rigour into existing systems for monitoring the quality of teaching, with suitable focus on the impact of teaching on students’ achievements
    - ensuring that recorded judgements following evaluation match what has been seen, rather than contain aspirational targets
    - fully aligning the SEF [self-evaluation form] and SDP [school development plan] so that sufficient priority is given to identified improvement goals.

If you would like to read the full inspection report and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings, you will find it here.

The Buzz

We have received very limited feedback from parents to our School Survey. Those parents who have responded have mixed views on the academic performance of the school, with half being partially satisfied, a third satisfied and the balance dissatisfied. 40% feel that they have to organise additional tuition outside of school and half of parents have considered moving their child to another school.  Confidence in the school's ability to meet the needs of their children is also decidedly mixed. 

Two thirds of respondents believe that the school fees they pay represent value for money, whilst the remainder are split in their views with half being partially in agreement and the remainder disagreeing with this premise. Similarly, despite their concerns expressed across the various criteria, 67% of respondents would recommend the school to other parents, with the balance unsure or dissenting.

If you are a parent at Asian International School Madinat Zayed, please share your thoughts and experiences of the school for the benefit of other potential members of your community by completing our survey here

Our View

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. 

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.

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.  

What about the fees?

Tuition fees range from AED 4,600 per year for KG1 to AED 6,500 for Grade 12. There is an additional charge for books which ranges from AED 236 in KG1 to AED 610 in Grade 12.

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