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ADEC school inspections in Abu Dhabi

Thursday 21 March 2019 (UAE)   

Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) school inspections (Irqitaa)

Abu Dhabi school inspections (the Irqita'a initiative) were started by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) in 2008 with a preliminary survey prior to more comprehensive inspections carried out in the 2009-2010 academic year. The ADEC school inspections are similar to the Dubai school inspections conducted by the DSIB division of the KHDA. The third round of Abu Dhabi school inspections was expected in 2011-2012 (not 2010-2011) ... but confusing information given meant that no one knew exactly which round of inspections was carried out when. Eventually the inspection timeline was something like:

  • 2013-2014 - private schools inspected with reports available to the public by mid-2014.
  • 2012-2013 - private schools inspected with reports available to the public in 2013
  • 2011-2012 - private schools inspected with reports not publicly available.

Public schools were also inspected but reports were kept private ... which makes sense since private school reports were made public.

  • In September 2008, Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, the ADEC Director General, told the Gulf News that ADEC would inspect private villa schools. Villa schools in Abu Dhabi (and other emirates for that matter) have a reputation of being unsuitable for students with cramped conditions and poor maintenance.
  • Schools would be inspected every 2 years, or more frequently for under-performing schools. Schools that continue to have unsatisfactory performance would be closed within 3 years.
  • Starting date for first full inspections was to be in September 2009.
  • The results of the ADEC school inspections would be made publicly available according to a Khaleej Times report 25 May 2009: "An ADEC spokesperson told Khaleej Times that the council is following a policy of transparency and the results will be published at www.adec.ca.ae, its website."
  • "Adec will make full reports available to the public on its website." - The National 23 May 2009
  • "Full reports will be available to the public on Adnec's website." - Arabian Business 23 May 2009 (their report was just a repeat of The National's report, except for the ADEC acronym typo)
  • ADEC changed their minds about sharing school inspection results with the public. An ADEC press release 24 February 2010 said "School results will initially be shared confidentially with schools to work towards improvement goals, however the inspection process will eventually move towards full transparency."
  • As of 24 February 2010, ADEC had started inspections but it was not clear how many schools had been inspected, or when inspections would be complete: "Dr. Al-Khaili said that a highly-experienced international inspection teams has already started their work, including inspection of 95 schools."
ADEC school inspections 2014
  • 06 Dec 2013 - Gulf News reported that ADEC announces the third cycle of private schools inspection. The reports would be issued in February and July 2014.
Abu Dhabi school inspections 2013-2015
  • 20 Oct 2013: "... as part of the Irtiqa'a program, 131 Kindergarten, Cycle 1 and common cycle schools will be inspected during the 2013/2014 academic school year. ... By 2015, ADEC intends on inspecting Cycle 2 and 3 schools in order to complete the inspection process for all public schools by June 2015." (ADEC announcement).
  • Public schools in Abu Dhabi will be inspected for the first time starting 2013, with results to be released to the public in 2015 (or not released, depending on whether ADEC changes their mind again).
  • Private schools will be inspected for the third, fourth, fifth, or sixth time (we're not sure anymore - confusing information is supplied) between 2013 and 2015. We say the third time because that's what ADEC said in a Gulf News report 29 May 2013 - "... in 2015 at the end of the third round of inspections ..." and ADEC said private schools would be inspected every two years - ... inspections will be conducted once every two years for private schools ... (Gulf News report, not a quote). But in June 2012, another ADEC official was reported by the Gulf News as saying "Private schools have been evaluated for the fourth time in the 2011-2012 academic year." Good luck trying to make sense of that.
  • There are three rating bands or categories Bands A-C, and each band has subdivisions. The Gulf News report of 29 May 2013 quoted the ADEC official as saying "While these subdivisions will not be revealed in July, we will however announce them in 2015 at the end of the third round of inspections" meaning July 2013, and referring to making the results of the school inspections public. Grade and band divisions below are similar to those reported earlier. Subdivisions were previously a numbered scale from 1-8 (best-worst), numbered scale might still be used (below list updated when results released with revised category descriptors: Excellent > Outstanding, Greatly Unsatisfactory > Extremely or Very Unsatisfactory, Weak > Poor).
    • Band A (High performance schools or something) - three subdivisions: 1. Outstanding, 2. Very Good, 3. Good.
    • Band B (Satisfactory schools) - two subdivisions: 4. Improving (or Satisfactory and Improving), 5. Satisfactory.
    • Band C (Unsatisfactory schools) - three subdivisions: 6. Unsatisfactory, 7. Very Unsatisfactory, 8. Poor.
Abu Dhabi school inspection results 2012-2013 - list of schools with good ratings

Band A schools (the good ones): 4 in Al Ain, 19 in Abu Dhabi city.

Level 1, Outstanding: None

Level 2, Very good: None in Al Ain, 6 schools in Abu Dhabi city.

    1. Cambridge High School
    2. British School Al Khubairat
    3. GEMS American Academy Abu Dhabi
    4. German International School
    5. Pearl Primary School
    6. Yasmina School

Level 3, Good: 4 schools in Al Ain,

    1. Al Ain International School
    2. Al Ain Juniors Private School
    3. Al Danat Private School (Kindergarten)
    4. Al Sanawbar Private School

... 13 in Abu Dhabi city.

    1. Al Bashair Private School
    2. Al Bateen Secondary School (Aldar)
    3. Al Muna Primary School
    4. Al Mushrif Private School (Aldar) (Al Mushrif School)
    5. Al Rabeeh School
    6. American Community School
    7. Brighton College (Bloom Gardens)
    8. Canadian International School
    9. GEMS World Academy Abu Dhabi
    10. Japanese School of Abu Dhabi
    11. Merryland International School
    12. Raha International School
    13. Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Girls

Notes and reports

  • 11 Mar 2014 - ADEC said that "The first set of inspection reports were published on the ADEC website in July 2013."
  • 30 Jul 2013 - ADEC released school inspection results for a total of 146 private schools in Abu Dhabi emirate, with 100 of them (about two-thirds) rated in the lowest of the three bands ADEC used for rating schools - Band C (unsatisfactory, very unsatisfactory, and poor schools). Band A (High Performing) had 23 schools, Band B (Satisfactory) had 29 schools. ADEC didn't say why there was a discrepancy between the total figure given of 146 schools, and the total of 23 + 29 + 100 = 152 schools. Perhaps they studied math at one of the unsatisfactory schools. Some reports said that 152 schools were inspected but didn't say why 6 reports were missing or for which schools. Inspection reports available on the ADEC website.
  • 29 May 2013 - the ever-optimistic Gulf News quoted Hamad Al Daheri, the ADEC Executive Director for Private Schools and Quality Assurance Sector, as saying "Although we have evaluated private schools since 2010, the results have not been released so far in order to allow schools time to ascertain and improve their standards. The main aim of making these reports public at the end of the 2012-2013 academic year is to raise the quality of education, and furnish parents with information to make the right choice of schools for their children." We're not holding our breath even if the Gulf News is ...
  • 10 Jun 2012 - Gulf News reported that 2012-2013 inspection results would be released at the beginning or end of the academic year. It wasn't clear when exactly. The same report first said Primary inspection results for private schools in the emirate of Abu Dhabi will be revealed publicly for the first time at the end of the 2012-2013 academic year, a senior education official said in the capital on Sunday. But then said Along with private schools, inspections for all public schools will be rolled out at the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year, confirmed Maryam Saqr, manager of school inspection and monitoring at the Adec.
  • 29 Feb 2012 news reports said that the Abu Dhabi school inspection program, Irtiqaa (or Irtiqa'a) will start from September 2012 (a pilot phase will start in March 2012 in 12 schools). ADEC developed the program in association with Tribal, an international school inspection program developer.
  • Some reports said the Irtiqaa inspection program would apply to public (state or government schools). Other reports said it would be for both public and private schools in Abu Dhabi. The Iritqaa section on the ADEC website says All schools, whether private or public, working within the Abu Dhabi emirate are registered with Irtiqaa.
  • Evaluation criteria (8 of them) will be:
    1. academic progress of students
    2. personal development of students
    3. curriculum role in meeting needs of students
    4. quality of teaching
    5. quality of facilities
    6. student support programs
    7. learning resources
    8. school leadership and management effectiveness
  • Grading levels will be from 1 to 8 (1 - Excellent, 2 - Very Good, 3 - Good, 4 - Fair and Developing, 5 - Fair and Stable, 6 - Unsatisfactory, 7 - Largely Unsatisfactory, 8 - Poor). And then banded from A to C (no, we don't know why either): Band A (high performing, grade 1-3), Band B (secure, grade 4-5) or Band C (in need of significant improvement, grade 5-8). Schools with 'A' grades will receive the "Irqaa Award" but no details supplied about what that means.
Abu Dhabi school inspections 2011-2012
  • 10 June 2012 - Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, director general at ADEC, was quoted in the Gulf News as saying "Private schools have been evaluated for the fourth time in the 2011-2012 academic year, and have been given a chance to improve their standards." Results were not released but will (or might) be next year.
Abu Dhabi school inspections 2010-2011
  • 20 Sep 2010 (WAM) - ADEC would start private school inspections shortly, with 4 teams for Abu Dhabi city area schools, 4 for Al Ain schools, and one team for Al Gharbia (Western Region) schools.
  • The news release didn't say if inspection reports would be made publicly available, just that they would be submitted to the ADEC Private School Assessment Committee (PSAC). For 2009-2010, ADEC said reports would be made available to the public but then changed their mind.
Abu Dhabi School Inspections 2009-2010
  • ADEC carried out the second round of school inspections in Abu Dhabi private schools during 2009-2010.
  • Inspections were carried out by international inspectors over a 4-5 day period for each school, similar to the DSIB inspections in Dubai.
  • Initial results for 98 out of 184 private schools released on 02 June 2010 were disappointing.
  • The Director General of ADEC, Dr Khamis Mugheer Al Khaili, said in a 02 June 2010 press release, 68% of the private schools that are utilizing purpose built buildings ranked "below satisfactory" and 20% were "satisfactory"; a mere 12% per cent were deemed good.
  • About 70 villa schools were not included in the inspections?
  • Individual school inspection reports, ratings, reviews, and results were not made available to the public as of early June 2010, but might be after results have been finalised. Date of release of reports unknown.
ADEC school inspection procedure for 2009-2010
  • Nine criteria for evaluation
    1. overall school effectiveness and efficiency
    2. student achievement and progress
    3. personal development of students
    4. teaching quality
    5. curriculum meeting pupils' needs
    6. protection, care, guidance, and support of students
    7. quality of school facilities and buildings
    8. school resources and their efficiency to achieve teaching and learning goals and objectives
    9. efficiency of school management and leadership, and their ability to achieve set goals
  • Each of the nine standards will be rated on a nine-point scale from poor (score of 9) to outstanding (score of 1).
  • Notification of inspector visits would be provided 10 to 30 days in advance.
  • The two lowest categories are "poor" and "very unsatisfactory". Schools falling into those categories would be shut down. Schools in the next 3 lowest levels would have to improve (or risk being shut down eventually).
Abu Dhabi School Inspections 2008-2009
  • ADEC initiated a first round of basic school inspections in private schools in Abu Dhabi to set a reference point for more comprehensive inspections in future years.
Last update Saturday 17-Jan-2015
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.adec.ac.ae/en/Education/KeyInitiatives/Pages/Irtiqaa-Reports.aspx - ADEC Irtiqa'a school inspection reports page. If not available as a direct link try navigation from the ADEC home page > Education in Abu Dhabi > Key Initiatives > Irtiqa'a > Irtiaqaa Inspection Reports. Not via Home > Parents > Private Schools > Irtiqaa which leads to a dead end.


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