Gulf Indian High School (GIHS) is a private K-12 school located in Al Garhoud, Dubai.
The story so far...
Gulf Indian High School was first established in 1979 by Mr. John M. Thomas as founder and chairman with only 200 students and 35 teachers. The school has since grown to more than 2,000 students and 140 teachers.Gulf Indian High School operates a split-shift timetable. Morning sessions are for boys and girls in Kindergarten and Grade 1 and girls only in the primary, middle and secondary phases. The afternoon session is for boys only. Almost all students are from Indian families.
The school has a student to teacher ratio of 17:1 which although appearing to be a relatively low figure is towards the higher side. At the time of the last KHDA inspection in 2019-20 staff turnover had reached 18% - low compared to the UAE average of 20-22% but on the high side for an Indian led school.
The outcome of the 2019-20 inspection was once again an Acceptable rating for GIHS - for the eleventh year in a row since the inspection process began. However, in the last inspection that took place prior to the Covid 19 pandemic, it was clear that GIHS had made substantial improvements compared with the previous inspection.
What about the curriculum?
Gulf Indian High School follows an Indian, CBSE curriculum with subjects being taught in both English and Arabic. The school aims to prepare students for the All Indian Secondary School Examination as well as the Comprehensive Evaluation and Senior School Certificate Examination.
GIHS has three divisions - Primary School (Kindergarten to Grade 2), Secondary School (Grades 3 to 10), and Senior Secondary School (Grades 11 and 12). Senior Secondary School students are offered Science and Commerce streams. English is the medium of instruction with Arabic as a compulsory subject for all students from Grades 1 to 10. Second language options include Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, French, Bengali, and Tamil. Islamic Education is taught as part of the curriculum for Muslim students and Moral Science for Non-Muslim students.
The school offers a range of clubs and sports activities designed to encourage student leadership, participation, exploration and development of their skills outside the core academic curriculum. Clubs are said to cater to a myriad of interests and specialties and designed to benefit students for a rich academic and social life. GIHS is committed to bringing out the creative abilities of students and actively engages them in various arts and cultural activities.
Sports are also an integral part of the school’s approach to overall student development. Gulf Indian High School provides Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Cricket and Badminton. Students participate in track and field events, as well as intellectually stimulating games like Chess, Carroms. Special coaching is offered to students after school hours by a team of committed Physical Education teachers.
GIHS has a comprehensive 16 page policy document related to its support for students with additional learning needs.
The school says that it welcomes all children with special educational needs and provides an inclusive educational set up. The SEND Department aims to provide all possible opportunities to bring out potential to the fullest among every individual student. The school adopts "the social model approach to SEND, recognize the nature and impact of the difficulties that students experience". The DSIB inspection team rated the Provision and Outcomes for Students of Determination as Acceptable.
The school does publish its examination results, though they are somewhat hard to find as they are included in the school's Annual report - details can be found here. This is something that we at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com particularly encourage.
118 students sat the Grade 10 examination with 69 students achieving a score of 75% or higher. In Grade 12, 83 students were entered for the examination and 26 of those in the Science stream achieved 75% and above (Distinction), including all eleven girls who had entered. 50 students were entered for the Commerce stream and of these, 34% achieved Distinction.
The school campus is a total of 35,000 sq. ft and comes equipped with a number of classrooms with interactive white boards, audio visual equipment and the latest computers. Facilities include a library with more than 30,000 books, sporting areas, book store, prayer room, activity room, canteen as well as a number of science and computer laboratories.
What the inspectors say
Gulf Indian High School was one of the relatively small number of schools (predominantly Indian curriculum) who were inspected in the 2019-20 academic year, as a result of the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic. As mentioned earlier, although the school was again rated Acceptable, there were clear signs of improvement.
In fact, on first sight, it is surprising that the school did not achieve a Good rating.
In terms of the six Key Performance Standards, Students' Achievements had seen marked improvements with the vast majority of measures for Islamic Education and UAE Social Studies, English, Maths and Science achieving at least a Good rating. English and Maths were rated Very Good in the Secondary section. Where the school appears to fall down is in regard to Arabic, which is rated Acceptable in Primary and Middle school and Weak in the Secondary section.
Teaching and Assessment, which together with the Curriculum form two further Key Performance Standards and contribute significantly to Student Achievement, also saw improvement with six of the eight ratings now Good. However, in order to achieve the step up to an overall Good rating for the school, it is this area of delivery, together with the Curriculum (where five of the eight ratings are Acceptable), that clearly need to be seen to achieve a further improvement in standards.
Students' Personal and Social Development and their Innovation skills are clearly also improving areas with ratings a mix of Good, Very Good and, in the Middle and Secondary sections, Outstanding ratings. In terms of the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students, Health and Safety (including Child Protection) is rated Very Good across the school, whilst Care and Support retained its Good rating.
Perhaps most notable were the improvements in the ratings for the Leadership and Management of the school, where three of the five measures improved to Good and the partnership between the school, parents and the community achieved a Very Good rating.
Overall the inspectors found the strengths of Gulf Indian High School to be:
In terms of areas of improvement, GIHS should:
If you would like to read the inspection report in full - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
In common with all UAE schools, Gulf Indian High School also participated in a Distance Learning Evaluation carried out by the KHDA in 2020 to measure the effectiveness of the school's provision of on-line learning. GIHS received the highest rating of Developed. You will find the full report here.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received insufficient responses to our Parent Survey to be able to provide a detailed analysis of the results. However, the limited feedback that we have received has provided the school with a rating of 4.3/5 - or a positivity rating of 86%.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Gulf Indian High School and would like to share your opinions and experience with other potential members of your community, please complete our Survey here.
Feedback to the KHDA inspection team from parents as part of the pre-inspection survey was largely positive. A total of 298 parents responded to the survey and indicated that 95% were satisfied with the quality of education provided by the school and appreciated its good value for money. They were positive about the performance of school leaders and teachers.
A sizeable contingent of 867 students responded to the KHDA's Well-being Survey with most students indicating that they were happy at school and optimistic about their futures. Almost all students indicated that they had strong relationships with their teachers and school staff and most were proud to belong to the school community.
There is no doubt that Gulf Indian High School is an interesting school. On the face of it, after so many years of apparently 'acceptable educational provision', it does seem to be on the road to improvement - although how much more progress has been made since 2019 cannot currently be objectively stated. This is a school also where the inspectors' views do not necessarily reflect fully all the positive changes that seem to be happening within the school and where parents and students seem to be more impressed with the school than the regulators have been.
It is to be hoped that when the next round of inspections takes place, there will be a closer alignment between the regulator and the school community's views, so that parents who are considering GIHS as an option for their children's education are able to see a single side of the coin.
Fees range between AED 4,498 per year for KG students to AED 8,506 per year for Grade 12 students. There are additional fees of approximately AED 400 per year to cover stationery, ICT and a medical, and additional fees for CBSE Grade 10 and 12 exam entries. There is also a one-off Admission fee of AED 500. This is a very affordable school.
Gulf Indian High School is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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