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Dubai Private Schools Group

Wednesday 16 January 2019 (UAE)   

Dubai Private Schools Group (DPSG)

The Dubai Private Schools Group (DPSG) is an organisation of private schools and school operators in Dubai formed by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (now just Dubai Chamber).

  • A DPSG press release 10 November 2009 said The new group has been formed by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry as part of its commitment to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai. As most private schools in Dubai are profit-making establishments, it could be that the business community interests that the DPSG wishes to support and protect conflict with the education interests of parents, teachers, school administration, and the Dubai KHDA. Nothing unique there. Privately run for-profit schools anywhere in the world have this conflict.
  • The DPSG is independent of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai (KHDA) which is the regulatory authority for education in Dubai, from kindergarten to university level.
  • The KHDA and DPSG are separate bodies from the UAE Ministry of Education (MOE), and the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MHESR). Confused yet? If you're a parent, teacher, or student, take notice of the KHDA - they tell schools what to do, allow them to increase fees, instruct them to paint buses yellow, and so on.
  • The Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) is another governmental education organisation, part of the KHDA, formed to carry out the Dubai school inspection process.

In a press release from the DPSG 10 November 2009, His Excellency Engineer Hamad Buamim, Director General of the Dubai Chamber, said "The Dubai Government accords the highest priority to strengthening the education sector, with the private enterprise playing a crucial role in shaping it. Together we will work to further enhance the quality of education provided. ... In addition to serving as a forum for discussion, DPSG will identify key issues and work with the relevant agencies on policy matters. Through its incorporation under Dubai Chamber, we will also help strengthen dialogue with the Government including the Ministry of Education and Knowledge & Human Development Authority."

And in the same press release, Brigadier Sharafuddin, Chairman of the DPSG, said "DPSG aims to build closer relationships with various curriculum schools and government schools, and work towards strengthening development strategies and education planning for private sector education."

Dubai Private Schools Group goals ...

... statements from the DPSG press release 10 November 2010

  • work to further enhance the quality of education provided
  • to establish the city as a premier global knowledge economy hub
  • work closely with the Dubai Government to make the city a sought-after global education destination
  • identify key issues and interface with relevant agencies for policy support to further promote private education
  • serving as a forum for discussion
  • help strengthen dialogue with the Government including the Ministry of Education and Knowledge & Human Development Authority
  • identify key issues and work with the relevant agencies on policy matters
  • identify and encourage best practices among schools and provide networking opportunities for facilitating information exchange
  • build closer relationships with various curriculum schools and government schools, and work towards strengthening development strategies and education planning for private sector education
Dubai Private Schools Group members

As of November 2009, there are 30 members of the DPSG representing 40% of the private school student population of Dubai (DPSG press release 10 November 2009). Some DPSG members represent more than one school, for example GEMS which has 25-30 schools existing or planned in Dubai.

Membership of the DPSG is open to all private schools in Dubai according to the same press release. Names of some school members reported in the Khaleej Times 11 June 2009:

Updated list of DPSG member schools (March 2011) (unconfirmed)
  • Al Ameen Private School
  • Al Diyafah High School
  • Al Khaleej National School
  • Al Mawakeb Schools (Al Barsha and Al Garhood)
  • Cambridge International School
  • Deira Private School
  • Dubai American Academy
  • Dubai International Academy
  • Dubai Modern High School
  • Dubai Scholars Private School
  • GEMS Wellington International School
  • GEMS Wellington Primary School
  • GEMS World Academy
  • International School of Arts and Science
  • International School of Chouiefat
  • Jumeirah Primary School
  • Our Own English School, Al Warqa'a
  • Our Own English High School, Dubai
  • Our Own Indian School
  • Pristeen Private School
  • Raffles Schools
  • Regent International School
  • Royal Dubai School
  • The Kindergarten Starters
  • The Westminster School
  • The Winchester School
  • The Millennium School
Dubai Private Schools Group executive committee, board of directors and management (as of 10 November 2010)
Person Position School
Brigadier Sharafuddin Al Sayed M H Sharaf Chairman Al Mawakeb Academy
Mr Adonis Nasr Vice-Chairman AMSI (Al Mawakeb)
Mr Sunny Varkey Vice-Chairman GEMS Education
Mr Avi Bhojani Treasurer Dubai International Academy
Professor Ralph Tabberer Secretary GEMS Education
Dr B R Shetty Member Deira Private School
Ms Aparna Varma Member Dubai Scholars
Mr Sanjay Mankani Member Regent International School
Mr Abdul Salam Mohammad Member Pristine School
DPSG formation

The DPSG was first announced in a 08 June 2009 press release from the Dubai Chamber which planned to form the DPSG as one of its 22+ business groups. This followed some comments in May 2009 from Mr Sunny Varkey of GEMS education after the KHDA refused to allow a previously permitted 45% fees increase at Mr Varkey's new Dubai Modern High School, because it wasn't complete in the opinion of the KHDA. Around the same time there were also disgruntled comments from many about the KHDA inspection process and in particular the linking of fees increase limits to the school rating.

  • "The policies and decisions made by the KHDA are flawed and inconsistent," - Mr Varkey in a GEMS Education press release 03 May 2009
  • "Through arbitrary, third party and sub-contracted inspections, KHDA is destroying the existing school operators' incentive to operate and further stifling future foreign direct investment into a core sector for the country," - an unnamed school operator quoted in the Gulf News 03 May 2009.
  • "I think private schools are neither working for or against the KHDA, but with them. I have not come across a single incident where KHDA actually stands in the way of providing quality education and ensuring the welfare of students." - Rob Stokoe, Director of Jumeirah English Speaking Schools, quoted in the Gulf News 03 May 2009. Both JESS schools were awarded an "Outstanding" rating by the KHDA in the 2008-2009 inspections.
  • "Mr Varkey had suggested at a press briefing last month that "a private school council" should be created to address policy issues with local education authorities." - The National 10 June 2009
  • "The proposed group will act as a forum on key policy issues affecting the private schools sector focus on coordinating the efforts of the educational sector." - Dubai Chamber press release 08 June 2008
  • "KHDA has heard about this group but is unaware about its goals and objectives." - Mohammed Darwish, KHDA Chief of Licensing, reported in The National 09 June 2009
  • "We want a sophisticated platform from which school owners, principals, teachers and parents can all talk to each other about education and the education sector in Dubai. That is why we are very happy about this new forum," - Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of the KHDA, referring to the DPSG, reported in the Khaleej Times 11 June 2009.
  • "It would be disappointing if this opportunity was missed and the group became a lobby for the promotion of self-interest," - Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communication and Marketing for Taaleem schools (one of the larger school operators in Dubai), reported in the Gulf News 11 June 2009. Taaleem reportedly weren't invited to join DPSG, and only found out about it by reading the press release.
  • "Parents should feel confident that the group will focus on common interests and share best practices that will benefit students across curricula as well as different budget segments of the sector," - spokesperson for Asdaa Burson-Marsteller, the DPSG PR Agency, reported in the Khaleej Times 11 June 2009
  • "Dubai schools' lobby group in disarray" - dramatic headline in The National 11 June 2009. The report went on to say that a number of schools named in releases as founding members of the organisation disavowed any connection. And reported comments from Bassam Abushakra, Chairman of ESOL, and David Hammond, head teacher of Dubai English Speaking School, as being unwilling participants in the new group despite being listed as founder members, along with the American School of Dubai and Dubai College, which also denied involvement. But a comment from an unnamed DPSG spokesman clarified that "Since the group is under formation they technically do not have any members yet."
Last update Saturday 07-Dec-2013
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.dpsg.ae - Dubai Private Schools Group website eventually? Shows Etisalat parking page when last checked (March 2011).


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