New Indian Model School is a low fee CBSE curriculum school, part of a group that is represented in almost every emirate of the UAE.
The story so far...
New Indian Model School Al Ain (NIMS Al Ain) was established 1994 and is therefore one of the longest established schools in the Garden City. It is one of five school in the NIMS Group of Schools, which together educate almost 15,000 students. The school is also very much at the lower end of the fee range.
The school states that its Vision is "Providing the Best Education of the Highest International Standards." The school aims to be "receptive to the best international practices and thus to mold [sic] the best international citizens who have the competence and adaptability to live in the future perky world. Reforms in the field of teaching and learning to suit with the present and future centuries are an ongoing and interminable process which contributes a lot to the achievement of quality."
Its rather shorter, and less loftily phrased Mission is "Developing A New Generation of Future Global Citizens Who Will Be Able to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges."
With approximately 800 students from KG1 to Grade 12, as would be expected Indian students make up the dominant nationality at 55%, followed by students from Pakistan at 21% and Bangladesh at 13%. Students are supported by 48 teachers from the sub-Continent, who are a mix of Graduate and Post-graduates. With a teacher:student ratio of 1:25 in KG and 1:30 in other grades, this is as would be expected in a low cost school. Unusually, the school does not employ any teaching assistants - the norm particularly in lower grades where a single teacher having to manage such large numbers is especially demanding. Despite this, teacher turnover, at 7%, would suggest that teachers are happy with their employment.
The balance of student numbers across the school is tilted towards the lower end with 21% of students in the KG section, 44% in the Primary school section, 24% in Middle school (from Grades 6 to 9) and 11% in the High School. Quite why the numbers at the top end of the school decline so significantly is not explained. Whilst this is a common feature of new schools, this is not usually the case with established ones.
What about the Curriculum?
The curriculum is based on CBSE standards from KG 1 to Grade 7 and Kerala State Board standards from Grade 8 to Grade 12.
The school says that it seeks "to ensure that a high quality, creative curriculum effectively meets the needs and extends the achievements of each individual child. We are committed to delivering exciting, rich learning experiences that not only equip our pupils in the subjects taught, but also ensure that they receive a broad and balanced curriculum developing individual talents and encouraging life-long enjoyment and motivation to learn that impacts positively on their aspirations and achievements."
In the Kindergarten, students study English, Mathematics, General Knowledge, Drawing, Arabic, Islamic Education/Quran/Moral Science, Art and Craft. This is extended further in the Primary section with a choice of Hindi/Urdu/Malayalam/Bengali, Environmental Studies, Social Studies, and Drawing being added to those subjects taught in KG.
By Secondary School, the core subjects are English, Malayalam/Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Mathematics, Social Studies, Moral Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Art/Craft, and Islamic Education. The school also offers Additional English and Special English from Grade 8 onwards in lieu of Malayalam.
Finally, in Higher Secondary, when students are working towards the Grade XII Kerala State Board examinations, a choice of Science or Commerce streams is available. In the Science stream, students study English, a Second Language ( either Malayalam/ Hindi or Arabic/), Physics, Chemistry, Biology /Computer Science and Mathematics. Students in the Commerce Stream focus on English, a Second Language (Malayalam /Hindi or Arabic ), Accountancy, Business Studies, Economics, and Computer Application.
Islamic Education is compulsory for Muslim children. Non-Muslim students are offered Moral Science in place of Islamic Studies. Urdu, Tamil and Bengali are offered as optional languages. Arabic is taught from KG. There is an intensive focus on computer studies for students from Grade 4 onwards.
Whilst there appears to be a strong focus on the academic, the school does reserve the last period of every Thursday for "literary, artistic and scientific activities." All students have access to sports, arts, music, literary and environmental activities either within the core curriculum or as part of after school activities.
What about Academic achievement?
Higher Secondary classes, both in Science and Commerce streams began in 2001 when the school relocated to a new custom-built building. According to the school "it has been securing cent percent success with the topmost grades in the Board Exams." This statement does not quite reflect its other statement, that "Standards achieved are above or in line with national expectations in the core subjects at all levels."
It is difficult to see quite how well students do perform, as there is little in the way of real analysis of results available. The most recent information indicates that 34 students appeared for the SSLC Board exams in March 2018 with a 100% pass rate. Two students scored 9 A+ out of 10.
For the HSE examinations, 15 Science and 13 Commerce stream students participated, with a top score of 93.92% in Science and 73% in Commerce. Results for 2019 have not been published.
The most recent ADEK report notes, however, that one of the strengths of the school is the results for Grade X and XII students in international assessments.
What about the Facilities?
As with much of the information available about NIMS Al Ain, relatively little has been revealed. The school states that classrooms are equipped with "computers and circuit libraries" and that there are well-equipped laboratories for science subjects "to effect learning by doing".
According to the school, there is also a well-equipped audio-video library to facilitate higher levels of learning. However ADEK's inspectors comment that "The school library is small and poorly resourced. It is primarily a reference library with a limited range of books. The stock includes older reference encyclopaedia, fiction and non-fiction books in Arabic, English and Indian languages. The books support the interests of older and younger students. There is a small selection of bi-lingual books.The library is too small to include any comfortable seating which would encourage students to stay and read. There are no vibrant visual stimuli that promote reading for pleasure."
Furthermore, the most recently published ADEK report from 2017-18 notes that "The school has invested in a wi-fi system across the school to enable students to use their own tablets and laptops for research and be more innovative in their work. Basic resources remain limited and act as barriers to learning for different groups of students". This includes the school’s provision for year-round physical activity which is inadequate due to the poor quality of the outdoor PE facilities.
With the level of fees charged by the school, it is unsurprising that investment in facilities and resources is at a premium.
What the inspectors say
NIMS Al Ain was awarded an Acceptable rating (the minimum required by ADEK) for the third time in five inspections following its inspection in 2017-18. Whilst the school was very positive about this outcome, and it is evident from the inspection report that progress is being made, overall outcomes for students' achievement remain largely acceptable, with a rare Good (in English progress in the High school section) and in Maths for both attainment and progress in the KG.
This cannot in any way be seen as a high-performing school. However, it is achieving the minimum standards required by the Abu Dhabi regulator consistently year after year.
In terms of the school's strengths, the inspection team noted:
The areas of improvement were considerably longer and more detailed. NIMS Al Ain should:
Not only does the school need to improve academic achievement across a wide range of subjects through more effective teaching and resources, but even basic classroom behaviour management - an essential for any teacher - needs to be improved among a limited number of staff. Most teachers do, however, have positive and supportive relationships with their students, who treat them with respect.
Overall, though, it is difficult to say how NIMS Al Ain can achieve these improvements without significant investment in its teachers and their professional development. On a positive note, however, the inspectors noted that "Senior leaders are clear in their aim to improve the effectiveness of the school."
If you would like to read the full ADEK inspection report, and we strongly advise you to do so in order to gain a detailed understanding of the reasons behind the rating, you will find it here.
Unfortunately, there is no independent information about the views of parents, students or teachers at NIMS Al Ain. School attendance - at 92% - is well below the expectations that ADEK has for schools, caused apparently by the extended holidays taken by parents which delays students' return to school. Students say they feel safe and happy at the school and are comfortable talking to their teachers and visitors. The inspection report notes that "Partnerships with parents are good. The Parents’ Council meets with school leaders and a representative is on the management board of the NIMS Group of Schools."
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What about the fees?
Fees at NIMS Al Ain are payable in ten monthly installments each of AED 440 in KG, AED 501 for Grade 1 to Grade 4, AED 542 for Grades 5 to 7, AED 696 for Grades 8 to 10, and AED 737 for Grades 11 and 12. A monthly bus fee of AED 250 per child is excluded from the above fees.
ADEK classifies the fees as very low.
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