The Model School - also known as the New Indian Model School - is a low fee Indian-curriculum school located in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi. It is one of a group of four schools, the original in Dubai, and a second in Sharjah, bearing the New Indian name, together with the Central School in Dubai.
The story so far...
The Model School, Abu Dhabi was established in April 1987 as a branch of the New Indian Model School, Dubai, under the chairmanship of Dr. M.K. Kamaluddin. A further branch is located in Sharjah, and all three schools are associated with the Central School Dubai.
The primary aim of the school when it was established, was "to start a good educational institution to impart education to children on national lines and in consonance with the time spirit, synthesizing the feature of the ancient systems with the progressive trends of modern times, catering to the needs of Indian expatriates in Abu Dhabi".
The school's website contains its Vision, Mission, Core Values, Goals and Philosophy:
Our Vision: Civilized new generation with 21st century skills.
Our Mission: Providing value based education for all at affordable fees.
Our Core Values: Commitment, Consistency, Consideration and Compassion.
Our Goals: Guidance to the right path; Improving quality of life; Creating a disciplined society.
Our Guiding Philosophy: Education that makes a difference .
The school is located in Musaffah, and educates close to 5,000 students (around 4,900) mainly of Indian nationality (96%), followed by Pakistani (2%) and Bangladeshi (1%). As a result, students from the different countries bring into the school many languages, cultures and educational expectations.
Some 280 staff reflect the diversity of the community of the school. A staff:student ratio of 1:17, however, is on the high side and may not enable staff to provide as much individual attention or curriculum adaptation to support all students. Teacher turnover, at 10% is approximately half of the norm for international schools in the UAE, although this does generally tend to be lower in Asian schools.
Approximately 10% (some 500) students have been identified with Special Educational Needs. ADEK inspectors found that "Students with special education needs (SEN) and those who are gifted and/or talented (G&T) are identified effectively. However, differentiated learning opportunities are not sufficiently embedded throughout the school. Teachers within primary and middle phases are not consistent in evaluating targets within individualised education plans". Although the school is inclusive and focuses on students’ learning and their personal development, consistency in relation to support of students with SEN and G&T must be a focus of teachers within the school.
With such large student numbers, the school operates two shifts, whereby girls attend in the morning and boys in the afternoon from Grade 4 onward, when classes become single gender.
The school says that leadership qualities are identified and developed from the youngest classes, with the goal of ensuring that when the children leave the school, they are equipped to face the challenges of the outside world. Care is taken to create an atmosphere of ‘a home away from home’. Students are provided with chances to understand, accept and respect each other and, as a result, students of different backgrounds learn to coexist in harmony and friendship
What about the curriculum?
The school follows the CBSE syllabus to Std.X and the Kerala Syllabus from Std.VIII to XII. The school has four sections – Pre-Primary (Kindergarten and preparatory), Primary – Grades I to VII, Secondary Grades VIII – X and Higher Secondary (XI and XII). The curriculum was found to be "broad and balanced, and provides for continuity and progression in students’ learning across all phases" by ADEK inspectors in 2017-18. However, they also noted that "Opportunities for enterprise, innovation and creativity are inconsistent across phases".
The school promotes better understanding among children belonging to different communities at an early age, and aims to help children achieve all round development by providing training for the mind, physical fitness, and leadership qualities.
Regular periods for sports and physical training are provided in the timetable. In addition, coaching is given under supervision of qualified coaches and physical training teachers for basket ball, Volleyball, shuttlecock table tennis and cricket, as part of an extra-curricular programme.
NIMS Abu Dhabi aims to ensure the all round development of the child, and this is provided through indoor and outdoor activities. Students are urged to participate in a range of activities and programmes of the school. Literary competitions, debates, declamation, quiz competitions, mass drill, and home management (for girls only) are conducted.
Special ‘Deeniyat’, ‘Tajweed’ and Hifz E Qur’an’ classes are conducted for Muslim students in addition to the Islamic Education and Qur’an classes of the regular school hours.
What about facilities?
NIMS Abu Dhabi was established in a spacious, purpose built building in Musaffah. The school is said to have well equipped Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) and Computer laboratories, library, play grounds, and other facilities. All the labs are equipped with the modern facilities and instruments to cater to the needs of the students. The laboratories are extensively used by the students for advanced investigatory projects.
A well stocked library helps students in their work, whilst video shows, presentations and Audio-visual aids are provided. Children are exposed to a range of reading material during weekly library periods. This exposure helps the students to build up a firm foundation in reading and comprehension.
What about academic achievement?
The school conducts regular class tests, monthly tests and Final Examinations. It does publish exam results, although not in a format that is particularly easy to access. Their website informs visitors that "The Model School Abudabi [sic] bags ethnic glory for 16 students securing A+ in all the subjects in the Kerala Board Examination (SSLC), out of the total 27 A+ among the whole schools in UAE. In addition to this, the school has also won more than 25 topers [sic] having either A+ or A in all the subjects. This is a continuance of the results in the previous years. The school stands top among all the Indian schools in UAE". There is no independent verification of this statement which appears to be for the 2016-17 exam period. However, the ADEK inspection report for 2017-18 notes that "Those students who sit international examinations, including Kerala and CBSE examinations in Grades 10 and 12, consistently attain outstanding results".
Further, there is a statement that 32 students in the Gulf secured A+ in all six papers in 2018, with 18 of them from the Model School, Abu Dhabi. 130 students from the school participated in the exams (78 Science stream and 52 Commerce stream) and all passed.
What the inspectors say
Despite the Model School' academic achievements, it has been rated Acceptable by ADEK for both the 2015-16 and latest 2017-18 inspections.
In the latest inspection, the school is rated Acceptable in terms of the Key Performance Standards of Student Achievement, Teaching, and Leadership and Management. The school is rated highly for Students' Personal and Social Development and their Innovation skills at Very Good, and Good for both Curriculum and the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of its students. The inspectors were particularly impressed by students’ personal and social development, noting that "students have positive and responsible attitudes towards their learning and respond very well to critical feedback. They behave very well and are sensitive to the needs of others".
Interestingly, the ADEK inspectors noted that "The overall quality of teaching and assessment is acceptable. High quality teaching and assessment exists within the Islamic Education department, but these practices are not being applied consistently across the school". Most international schools have far greater difficulty with the quality of teaching for Arabic subjects and this has been a particular focus of inspections over recent years.
Student achievement in English, Maths, Science and other subjects, and their learning skills, are rated Acceptable across the KG, Primary and Middle School sections, although they are Good in the High School section. By Grade 12, students have acquired outstanding language skills in Hindi and Malayalam.
The school's strengths are defined by the ADEK inspection team as:
Areas for improvement include the requirement to:
It is very clear from the inspection report that the main focus of the school and its leadership must be on improving the quality of teaching through ensuring that best practice within the school is transferred to all staff. Only then will students in all sections improve their level of achievement.
Fees are in very low range, starting from AED 4,500 to Grade 8, rising to AED 4,800 for Grades 9 and 10, and AED 6,200 for Grades XI and XII.
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