Indian International High School, Dubai is a private K-12 school located in Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dubai. It currently caters to 2,000 students (well below the figure of 2,300 of 2017). The school is rated Acceptable by the KHDA, a ranking it has held for eight years in a row. This puts it sharply at odds with its sister schools in Garhoud and Oud Metha, which have received Good and Very Good respectively.
Indian International School Dubai Silicon Oasis is a sister school to the highly regarded Indian High School, and its Junior campus in Al Garhoud. The school's website explains: “The Indian High School has expanded itself with two campuses in the heart of Dubai and one campus in Dubai Silicon Oasis. Our resources, both human and material, are remarkably geared to prepare the students for the 21st century”.
The Vision of Indian International School is to:
“Create Proactive Global Citizens”.
IIS states in its Mission that it aims to:
“Unfold the inherent talents of all students and enable them to do their best; Nurture a cosmopolitan atmosphere by encouraging the appreciation of world culture; Instil appropriate and desirable ethical values to make the students productive and responsible members of society; Train the students to realise their educational potential and become independent, lifelong learners; Embody commitment to expectations of society by continually improving the quality management systems; Develop an environment that will enable the school to meet the objectives of the National Agenda and the Vision of the Rulers of UAE”.
IIS also has a series of stated Objectives aimed at specific provision and support within the school. These include to:
“Build an effective technology-based learning environment for the creation of global digital citizens; encourage the growth of an environment conscious generation by promoting eco-friendly practices in campus; support and guide students to alleviate learning difficulties and integrate them with the mainstream and to transform the infrastructure and supporting facilities into a centre of creativity & innovation".
It is evident from the school’s inspection reports that a real effort has been made to achieve these objectives, albeit to varying degrees of success.
The school opened in 2011 to meet the ongoing demand for affordable quality education for Indian families in Dubai. It is currently open from KG1 to Grade 10 and was expected to add a grade each year until it reached completion in April 2019 with the opening of Grade 12.
It seems that the inability to raise the KHDA inspection rating to Good had resulted in a halt being placed on further expansion. The school had consistently been rated Acceptable by the KHDA inspectors – well below the previously Outstanding (now Very Good) rating of the Indian High School Senior branch and below the Very Good rating of the Junior branch. However, in the 2022-23 inspections, IIS finally achieved a Very Good rating and is expected to continue its growth to grade 12 in the coming two years.
In common with many Indian curriculum schools in the UAE, IIS is a large school, with around 2,870 students during the 2022-23 academic year. The school employs 199 teaching staff and a further 30+ teaching assistants across all areas of the school. The school makes a point of noting that 50 of its teachers have more than ten years' experience. With a teacher:student ratio of 1:14, a reduction from 1:16 in 2020, this is in line with expectations for an affordably priced Indian curriculum school. KG class sizes are 24-26, whilst those in the remaining grades are 28-30.
The school is led by Principal Mrs. Rebecca Antony who joined IIS in January 2018. Staff turnover, at 19% at the end of the 2019 academic year, was below the UAE average of 20-22% but high for Indian curriculum schools. In 2022, the figure had reduced to 12%.
Part of the reason that parents may initially consider IIS is in the hope that this may lead to transfer to either the Junior or Senior section of the Indian High School.
However, there is no direct internal transfer of students between the two. The school also places restrictions on students trying to join IIS from outside the Indian system; they may apply and participate in the Admissions test, but their admission will not be confirmed until the month of June (meaning that they will miss the first two months of the Indian academic year). Now that IIS is likely to be open to Grade 12 within the next two to three years, concerns about the need to transfer students to complete their final two years of education should be largely allayed.
The school is permanently affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi, and the autonomous federal board, under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) Government of India. The school is also recognised by the Ministry of Education, Dubai, UAE. IIS “adheres to a strict educational regimen and extra-curricular activities that inspire the highest levels of overall academic excellence among all students”. All students take Hindi from Grades 1 – 6. Students in secondary can additionally follow options in French or Hindi.
Interestingly, despite the close alignment and evident commitment to the CBSE Board, the KG curriculum is broadly based on the UK Early Years Foundation Stage framework - something that has become increasingly frequent in CBSE schools in the UAE.
The focus of the Kindergarten stage (KG1 and KG 2) revolves mainly around three curricular areas - Literacy, Numeracy and Understanding Our World. These areas are complemented and supplemented by activities designed for personal and social development, health and physical development and the development of the artistic and creative skills of the students.The teaching and learning approach is a blend of inquiry, experiential learning and play, with a clear focus on developing healthy attitudes, values for life and learning skills.
Primary (Grades 1 to 5) and Middle School (Grades 6 to 8) students follow the CBSE curriculum with core subjects including languages, Math, Science and Social Studies (SST) and the co-scholastic-disciplines including Computer, Physical Education (PE), Art, Dance, and Music. Swimming is also integrated into the timetable. The subjects of UAE-Social Studies, Moral Education, Arabic and Islamic Studies form an integral part of the curriculum as per the directives of the Ministry of Education (MOE). French and Hindi are offered as curricular choices for the second language option from Grade 1.
According to the school, in line with the competency-based educational initiatives from the CBSE, National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and international benchmarks, the school’s curriculum expectations directly align with the age-appropriate skills and core competencies identified as per global standards.
The curriculum information for students in Grades 9 and 10 (the Secondary section) is somewhat limited. IIS says that "the curriculum scope and expectations in the secondary phase are in strict adherence to the guidelines and specifications from the CBSE". Artificial Intelligence and Computer Applications are offered as curricular choices for the skill subject option from Grade 9. Hindi and French continue to be options for the second language. The Ministry of Education subjects of Arabic and UAE Social Studies are a part of the curriculum until Grade 9. Moral Education and Islamic Studies are continued until Grade 10.
The curriculum promotes innovation through activities such as the ‘Innovation week’, the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEAM) agenda and an organic farming project.
The curriculum is also enhanced by a range of close to 20 after-school clubs and activities, including field trips and thematic assemblies as well as a variety of sports and fitness programmes. Drama, dance and music ensure that students are provided with choices and opportunities to develop other interests. Further details can be found here.
PE and extra-curricular activities are clearly an important element of school life. Besides regular Physical Education classes, the Physical Education Department also conducts Swimming classes, after school coaching classes, after school fitness classes and Friday and Saturday Sports Clubs.
The Eco Club appears to be a particular focus of IIS. It aims to create awareness about the environment and foster a commitment among the students to work individually and collectively towards environment related issues. There is an emphasis on recycling so that many materials are re-used and refurbished. The Club consists of about 100 members, “the Green Patrol”, from Grades 3 to 9. Students participate in the recycling of electronic waste through the E-waste campaign and are encouraged to exhibit their creativity, increase public awareness on the consequences of tobacco use by organising a ‘No Tobacco Day’ campaign, organise Earth Hour and create awareness about it.
The Club encourages students to take action to save the environment and to “go a step further to educate friends and family on the significance of the three P’s – Protect, Preserve and Promote Mother Earth by a variety of activities including Organic Farming, Paper Bag Campaign, Clean -Up Campaign etc.”
Another area of focus for IIS seems to be the development of their SEND provision, in line with the KHDA Inclusive Education Policy which requires that all schools should be able to support children of Determination. At the end of 2022, IIS had 165 students who had been identified with additional learning needs.
The school already operates a Learning Centre which undertakes the Identification and Assessment of support requirements and provides Skill training for 2 or 3 periods/week, reviewing progress on an on-going basis. The SEN team of 4 Counsellors and 2 Learning Support Assistants provides guidance and support in relation to a range of Special Education Needs (SEN) including Behavioural, Social, Emotional; Sensory and Physical; Medical Conditions or Health Related Disability; Communication and Interaction; Gifted and Talented; Disabled and Learning.
The team supports children with a wide range of diagnoses including Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Nonverbal Learning Disability, Disorders of Speaking and Listening, Auditory Processing Disorder and Learning Disabilities including Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are some 150+ children who are registered as in need of SEND support.
Unfortunately, despite having had at least four cohorts of students present for the CBSE Grade 10 examinations, IIS does not publish its exam results.
We find this disappointing, since although academic results are not the be-all and end-all of education, they are an important factor in the decision-making process for parents and students.
In line with many Indian curriculum schools, IIS does publish details of its Toppers. Whilst it is, of course, absolutely right to celebrate the achievements of the top students in the school, this does not provide a transparent view of the performance of all students. Nor does it allow students, who out-performed expectations but were not Toppers, to be celebrated for their efforts and successes.
As a relatively new school, IIS boasts a range of modern facilities including a well-equipped Science Laboratory which provides technical support in Physics, Chemistry and Biology, where scientific or technological research, experiments and measurements are performed. Staff at the Science Laboratory works closely with students to explain or demonstrate experiments, how to use equipment, as well as assist and support individual students on research projects.
The school also boasts a Mathematics Lab which provides a positive and professional environment for learning. It helps students grasp the concepts dealt with in class and promotes independence in learning. Facilities in the Mathematics Lab include Geoboards, Bingo cards, Puzzles and Coursework sheets.
The ICT lab is equipped with 25 PCs with Internet connection, a Projector and Robotic Kits. It provides students with software training and up- to- date knowledge in computer technology. It also serves as a platform for staff Continuous Professional Development (Assessment software and technology) as well as internal and external assessment. After school Graphic Design Classes are also held at the ICT Lab.
The 2017-18 KHDA report noted that STEAM facilities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) “are particularly noteworthy and include a splash pool and a recycling area. Technology is commonplace in all classrooms with computers available”. With technology-driven innovation a key focus for the UAE Education Agenda, this is also a focus for inspectors.
Flexible learning spaces facilitate problem solving and independent learning particularly in the KG where it is stimulated through activities and play.
The school features a Library which has over 8000 books in circulation. It provides an easy access to reference books, E-books, newspapers and magazines for students as well as staff and a fully air-conditioned Auditorium with a seating capacity of around 500. The Auditorium has a large screen projector with state of the art sound and lighting systems. A Wi-Fi facility is available in the Main auditorium, Green rooms, as well as the Canteen and Foyer areas.
The school’s resources include a full-sized swimming pool and ample resources for extra-curricular activities. Facilities include a KG Gym with trampolines, walkers, steps, cycling areas and balancing beams; a Grade 1 and 2 Activity Room containing trampolines, wall climbing features, football goal posts, basketball rings and a Yoga and Gymnastic room with soft mattresses and wall mirrors. There is a Table Tennis hall with 5 Table Tennis tables, Carom boards and Chess boards.
Unusually for Dubai, IIS boasts a Football field with natural grass, as well as a standard size Basketball court, a Mini Basketball court with adjustable pole, a standard size Tennis and Volleyball court with adjustable pole, Cricket nets and 2 concrete pitches.
On its eighth inspection in October 2019, IIS was again rated Acceptable, the legal minimum requirement for schools in Dubai, and one rating below that of Good which the KHDA wishes all schools to achieve.
The school - and the whole of the Indian High School group and its community - must therefore have been delighted to learn that IIS has achieved a Good rating in the 2022-23 inspection round.
The vast majority of ratings for Student Achievement are now Good (including in Primary Arabic), and Science was rated Very Good in Secondary. Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum - the two other key performance standards that directly impact Student Achievement, are now rated Good with the sole exception of Assessment in the Primary section which remains Acceptable.
Without doubt, the Personal and Social Development and Innovation skills of the students at IIS are a strength - rated Very Good across the school - as are the Health and Safety arrangements. The remaining key performance standards, Care and Support rated Good, and Leadership and Management, also rated Good are areas where the school is succeeding.
In terms of the strengths of Indian International School, the inspection team determined these to be:
As far as areas for improvement are concerned, IIS must ensure that steps are taken to:
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.
It should be noted that IIS (together with the other two schools in the family) achieved A a highest Developed rating from the KHDA inspection team for the Distance Learning Evaluation which took place in 2020.
Feedback from parents at IIS to the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey is insufficient for us to comment objectively on their views. Suffice to say that the small number who have responded, have been reasonably satisfied with the school, giving it a rating of 2.9/5 - a positivity rating of 58%.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Indian International School DSO, please share your experience and opinions with other potential members of your community and complete our Survey here.
In a new requirement for 2022-23, the inspection team also rated the quality of wellbeing provision and outcomes. This was found to be at a high level (the highest rating being Very High).
The inspectors noted that:
As part of the Indian High School group of schools, it is unsurprising that IIS has attracted significant numbers of parents and students. The school has shown that it can deliver improving quality in alignment with the two other schools in the group - although its inconsistency, disjointedness in doing so is we feel is a little bit disappointing.
Indian International School Dubai is relatively affordable, with fees starting at AED 9,679 per annum for KG1 and KG2 and rising to a maximum of AED 14,290 at Grade 10.
In addition, and presumably to give families are step up the ladder to admission to KG, IIS has introduced a pre-KG section for which the fees are a sizable AED 21,000! The same option is also available at the Indian High School Junior branch in Garhoud, where fees from KG1 onwards are approximately 40% of the Silicon Oasis school.
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