Dubai KHDA suspends school inspections for the upcoming academic year

asmaa - | Arab News

In Dubai, the extent to which private schools can adjust their fees hinges on the latest evaluation from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB).

Inspection changes and fee adjustments

For the upcoming academic year 2024–25, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has announced that full inspections will not be conducted for most private schools. This directive, communicated via a circular to Dubai schools, exempts all except new schools entering their third year of operation.

The circular outlines the KHDA's decision: "Full school inspections will not be conducted across all private schools in Dubai, except for new private schools that will be in their third year of operation during the academic year." However, schools have the option to request a full inspection from DSIB, subject to KHDA's review and approval, with requests due by July 5, 2024. Approved schools will receive notification during Term 2 of the 2024–25 academic year.

Impact on Fee Adjustments

Traditionally, Dubai schools undergo annual inspections to receive updated ratings ranging from 'Outstanding' to 'Weak', based on specific criteria. During the pandemic, inspections were paused due to operational constraints. In lieu of full inspections, DSIB will conduct targeted visits focusing on specific areas and ongoing monitoring activities. Schools will receive advance notice regarding areas of focus and priorities for the upcoming academic year.

All schools are required to regularly update their'self-evaluation form' and online school profiles throughout the academic year. While the pause in inspections applies solely to the 2024–25 academic year, there has been no confirmation regarding inspections for the subsequent academic year, 2025–26.

Determining school fees in Dubai relies significantly on the latest DSIB assessment. Schools with higher ratings historically have more flexibility in adjusting their fees. For the 2024–25 academic year, Dubai private schools were authorized to increase tuition fees by a maximum of 5.2% based on their most recent KHDA inspection results. However, with no new inspection ratings issued yet for the upcoming academic year, the process for determining and regulating fee increases remains uncertain.

The recent announcement follows the release of the 2023–24 inspection reports, showcasing improvements in numerous Dubai schools. Out of 209 private schools inspected during the 2023–24 academic year, 23 were rated 'Outstanding', 48 'Very Good', 85 'Good', and 51 'Acceptable', while two schools received a 'Weak' rating. Notably, 81% of students attend schools rated 'Good' or higher, with 83% of schools offering 'Good' or better well-being provisions.

Schools rated 'Outstanding' in 2023–24 include Dubai College, Jumeirah College, Gems Modern Academy, Kings School Dubai, Dubai International Academy (DIA), Dubai English Speaking School (DESS), Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS), and Arabian Ranches. 'Very Good' schools include Gems Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis, Gems World Academy Dubai, Sunmarke School Dubai, Credence High School Dubai, Regent International School Dubai, Delhi Private School Dubai, and Repton Al Barsha, among others.

Schools rated 'good' include The Aquila School, Mirdif American School, Al Salam Private School, Cambridge International School Dubai, and Sheffield Private School Dubai, among others. The KHDA's ongoing assessment and inspection framework aims to maintain and enhance educational standards across Dubai's private schools, ensuring quality education and well-being for all students.

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