Home | Forum | Print |

KHDA Dubai school inspections

Monday 18 February 2019 (UAE)   

KHDA DSIB school inspections in Dubai

The Dubai School Inspections Bureau (DSIB) is the school inspection department of the KHDA. The first batch of Dubai school inspections for 2008-2009 started in October 2008 and covered private and government schools, with schools put into one of 4 categories. The second batch of school inspections for 2009-2010 started October 2009 and included Indian, Pakistani, and Iranian curriculum schools (which were skipped for the first inspections).

KHDA school ratings 2012 - released 27 February 2012 for Indian and Pakistani schools, and 08 May 2012 for other schools.

Full reports on each school are available on the KHDA website as PDF downloads, or ask the school for a copy of the report (although they might tell you to get it from the KHDA website).

  • KHDA Dubai school inspection reports 2012 - Indian school reports released in February 2012. Other school reports released 08 May 2012.
  • KHDA Dubai school inspections 2011 - Most private school reports released 10 May 2011, Indian and Pakistan school ratings released 22 February 2011
  • KHDA school inspections 2010 - list of schools and ratings
  • KHDA school inspection reports 2009 - list of schools and rankings
  • Results, reviews, and full reports (for 2008-2009 only summaries were released to the public) for Dubai schools for 2009-2010 released 10 May 2010 on the KHDA website.
  • Results for Indian and Pakistan curriculum schools were released 17 February 2010.
  • Iranian curriculum schools in Dubai were first inspected in the 2011-2012 round of inspections. The reason for no inspections before that was, according to a report in The National on 23 February 2011, Officials at the KHDA said they had to exempt these schools from previous inspections because of their "unique curriculum".
KHDA school inspections a sham?

On 03 October 2012, the Gulf News Express had a dramatically scathing report about the KHDA school inspections, headed "The shocking truth about school inspections" and went on to say As KHDA inspections begin, profit-driven schools are back to their dirty tricks. XPRESS cuts through the deception to expose the annual drama they stage to up their ratings ... Our investigations found that Dubai’s profit-obsessed schools have made a mockery of KHDA inspections. In a bid to please inspectors they put up a well-orchestrated sham year after year. The show is complete with stage, props and artists where everyone from the teacher to the parent, student and even the school bus staff has a specific role that’s meticulously rehearsed – in some cases – for weeks ... A good performance wins a good rating. A good rating means a licence to increase fees. And if it involves subterfuge and deception, so be it.

  • The report gave examples of schools (unnamed) which rearranged furniture and students (according to ability), brought a teacher in temporarily with the correct qualifications, having mock inspection drills, rearranging timetables temporarily to increase the number of Arabic classes, sending letters to parents with particular requirements to be followed during inspection time, playing tricks on inspectors for example asking all students to raise their hand when answering a question (but right hand if they know the answer, left hand if they don't).
  • The report also quoted comments from teachers under pressure and overworked to prepare additional material to comply with inspections or enhance a school's rating.
  • The KHDA was given an opportunity to have their say, according to the report ... In an e-mail statement to XPRESS, DSIB’s Acting Director Fatima Belrehif said she’s aware schools undertake extra preparations for inspections, but added she does not believe the preparations are deceptive. "Our inspectors are trained to see through any 'quick fixes'", she said.
  • It wasn't clear from the report how comprehensive the survey was. No schools were named, and a number was not given when the report referred to "some schools" for various examples of shady tactics. In other words, readers have no idea if the Gulf News surveyed all, a majority, or a handful of outliers. Nor was it clear how many parents, students, or teachers were questioned, and how representative of the population they were anyway.
  • Given the colorful and opinionated language used in the report ("shocking truth", "dirty tricks", "well orchestrated sham", etc), one wonders if this is a report in a respectable daily newspaper (well, that's what the GN would have you believe), or something from a gutter tabloid with an agenda or an axe to grind.
  • Nevertheless, what is apparent to anyone involved in education (whether in Dubai, or anywhere else), is that teaching usually involves a great deal of bureaucratic work to satisfy the school inspection industry (no, we don't have any numbers to back up our comment either, except to say we've never met or heard of a teacher who complains about not having enough work, especially at inspection time).

The GN Express had an additional report headlined "KHDA mulls surprise school inspections" based on a comment from Fatima Belrehif, Acting Director of Dubai Schools Inspections Bureau (DSIB) at the KHDA, who responded to the question "Any plans by DSIB to launch surprise inspections? Will short-notice inspections help improve the system?" with the comment "... Many parents have asked for no-notice or short-notice inspections and we are keen to listen to them. We regularly review our methods and such an approach may be beneficial to Dubai in the future." Whether that's mulling or not is probably debatable.

British school inspections in Dubai
  • 24 May 2012 - the KHDA in Dubai announced that British curriculum schools in Dubai would undergo additional British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspections.
  • The KHDA statement said "To qualify for BSO inspection, schools must be able to demonstrate that their curriculum and ethos are related to British culture. If they meet the standards, they will be recognised by the DfE [Department for Education of England] … To be classified as ‘British' by KHDA, schools will need to undergo BSO inspections."
  • So that should ... or could ... mean that a school with "British" in the name, really does have a British ethos, curriculum, or something. Maybe. But it will probably still be a lottery if schools with "English" in the name have anything to do with England and/or an English curriculum. Don't count on it.
DSIB school inspections 2011-2012
  • Indian High School Dubai (CBSE curriculum), and Dubai Modern High School (CISCE curriculum) both awarded an "outstanding" rating according to comments made to the Gulf News by Fatma Belrehif, spokeswoman for the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) (reported 20 December 2011).
  • Indian school reports to be released February 2012
  • Most other school inspection reports to be released May 2012 (unconfirmed)?
  • Schools rated unsatisfactory will not be closed down (there were reports in the past that that might be a consideration or consequence of repeated unsatisfactory ratings) - Jameela Al Muhairi, Head of the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) at the KHDA, was reported in the Gulf News 08 May 2012 as saying "These schools are charting the course of progress, though they are slow. We want to support these schools to improve, there is no intention in KHDA to close down these schools."
DSIB school inspections 2010-2011
  • Other private school reports announced 10 May 2011.
  • Inspection results for Indian and Pakistani schools in Dubai will be announced on Monday 21 February 2011, and will be available on the KHDA website on the morning of Tuesday 22 February 2011 (Gulf News 20 February 2011).
  • School inspections to start from Tuesday 04 January 2011. Inspection visits are usually 3-5 days long.
  • Inspectors will visit 79 public schools and 42 private schools during the second term of the 2010-2011 academic year.
  • Poorly rated schools will probably be given a specific action plan to follow for improvement. Highly rated schools might be subject to less frequent inspections. The DSIB boss, Jameela al Muhairi, reportedly said "The inspection strategy is under review, and we will be looking into a plan for unsatisfactory schools, the frequency of the inspections and the period of our visits." (The National 04 January 2010).
DSIB school inspections 2009-2010
Number of schools
17 February 2010 5 11 7 0
10 May 2010 21 95 66 5
Total as of 10 May 2010 26 (22) 106 (97) 73 (66) 5 (4)
  • Numbers in brackets for Totals are for 2008-2009 academic year.
  • For the 2008-2009 round of school inspections, the KHDA published a brief summary and rating for each school for public consumption, and sent a more comprehensive report to each school.
  • For the 2009-2010 round of school inspections, a more comprehensive report was made available to the public for each school (about 15-20 pages), pdf downloads available from the KHDA website. So far for Indian and Pakistani curriculum schools (February 2010).
  • Results for other schools for the 2009-2010 inspections will be released in May 2010 according to news reports 20 March 2010.
Dubai schools ratings 2009-2010
  • Outstanding rated schools: Al Manhal Kindergarten, Al Nokhbah Model School, Childhood Development Center and kindergarten, GEMS Wellington International School, Kings Dubai School
  • Good rated schools: see the list of Dubai school reports 2010
  • Acceptable / Satisfactory rated schools: see the list of Dubai school inspections 2010
  • Uncceptable / Unsatisfactory rated schools: Al Aqsaa Primary School, Al Basateen Kindergarten Hatta, Al Falah Model Private School, Al Farooq Pakistani Islamic School, Al Hesn Private School, Al Hudaibiah Primary School, Al Khulafaa Al Rashideen School, Al Majd Indian School, Al Maktoum School, Al Mohallab Primary School, Al Shaab Boys Primary School, Al Watan Al Arabi School, Apple International School, Buds Public School, Dubai American Scientific School, Dubai Arab American Private School, Dubai First School, Dubai Infants School, English Medium Private School, European School of Dubai, Grammar School Dubai, Little Flowers English School, Mohammed Noor School, Pakistan Education Academy, United International Private School
DSIB school inspections October 2009

The second year of inspections started in October 2009 for all schools in Dubai for the 2009-2010 academic year, including Indian, Iranian, and Pakistani curriclum schools (they missed out the first time around). New initiatives for round 2 included:

  • Interviews with 10 parents at each school (but not with students?)
  • Online questionnaire with 20 questions for all parents at the time of the inspections (but not for students?)
  • Science programs evaluated from Kindergarten (KG) levels (was not examined below grade 6 for 2008-2009)
  • Islamic Studies renamed as Islamic Education and will recived more scrutiny

Total number of schools to be surveyed is 82, made up of 36 government schools, and 46 private schools including 24 Indian and Pakistani schools.

DSIB school inspections for Dubai - April-May 2009

The results of the first batch of inspections, conducted in 69 schools in Dubai (24 public schools and 45 private schools) from October to December 2008, were released on 02 April 2009. The second batch of 120 results were released 16 May 2009, and another 31 Indian, Pakistani, and Iranian schools will be inspected during the 2009-2010 academic year (April to March for these schools). There are about 220 schools in Dubai - both private and government). Results for Indian and Pakistani schools were released 17 February 2010.

Number of schools
02 April 2009 6 34 25 4
16 May 2009 14 63 41 0
17 February 2010 5 11 7 0
Total as of 16 May 2009 22 97 66 4
Total as of 17 February 2010 27 108 73 4
Public (government) schools 5 43 32 0
Private schools 17 54 34 4
Total as of 16 May 2009 22 97 66 4
KHDA Outstanding ratings for Dubai schools for 2009-2010
School KHDA rating Dubaifaqs satisfaction rating
        10 May 2010
    Students Parents Teachers   Students Parents Teachers
Al Manhal Kindergarten Outstanding              
Al Nokhbah Model School Outstanding              
Childhood Development Center Outstanding              
GEMS Wellington International School Outstanding        
Kings School Dubai Outstanding        
KHDA Outstanding rankings for Dubai schools for 2008-2009
School KHDA rating Dubaifaqs satisfaction rating
    02 April 2009   16 May 2009
    Students Parents Teachers   Students Parents Teachers
JESS Arabian Ranches Outstanding  
Jumeirah College Outstanding  
Jumeirah English Speaking School Outstanding  
Kings Dubai* Outstanding  

*Kings Dubai ratings for 02 April 2009 from very few votes on Dubaifaqs and should not be assumed to be very representative.

Dubai school inspections background

The Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) is the inspections division of the Knowledge & Human Development Authority Dubai (KHDA) and inspects all schools in Dubai to rate them on whether or not they provide a satisfactory education. Usually schools are inspected by a group of inspectors, some of whom are imported from overseas for the job. These inspectors conduct interviews and surveys with parents, students, and staff, observe teachers, and write reports. As you'd expect with an inspecting body or ratings agency, there is some degree of variability introduced depending on the whim of the inspector in attendance, making the results more subjective than one would hope. Each school should be inspected by more than one inspector so any bias should be diluted by the other inspectors.

KHDA inspections put Dubai schools into one of 4 categories: outstanding, good, acceptable and unsatisfactory. The significance of those categories is not just as an information rating for parents and students, but financial and career oriented also. School fee increases are limited by different amounts depending on the KHDA rating, and some teachers who had less than satisfactory ratings resulting in an overall lower rating for the school, have found their teaching careers in Dubai to be somewhat shorter than they expected.

Some would argue that the KHDA inspection results reflect how well the school prepared for the review (schools knew beforehand when inspectors would visit) rather than the quality of education offered. Schools and sacked teachers disgruntled with the KHDA verdicts are more likely to have this point of view, and to say that it doesn't represent what the school is really like. Residents in the UAE who have more than a passing familiarity with schools in Dubai will spot a few apparent anomalies in the list also.

Note that it is not unusual to see major discrepancies between the KHDA ratings, and the Dubai school ratings on the information pages here. For example, half of the KHDA "unsatisfactory" schools were rated by students, parents and teachers as better than the KHDA "outstanding" Jumeirah College for 2008-2009. The KHDA ratings are determined by inspectors, while the Dubaifaqs ratings are determined by students, parents and teachers. All 4 groups have different measurement criteria and influences. What conclusions can you draw from the disparity between Dubaifaqs satisfaction ratings and the KHDA ratings? Well, for one, bear in mind that voting on Dubaifaqs is a bit of a free for all, so any ratings that just don't look right, probably aren't. And it might be reasonable to conclude that the KHDA ratings indicate that the DubaiFAQs ratings are nonsense and should be ignored. But tell us what you think. Add a comment to the KHDA school inspection topic.

Individual school rating brief summary reports are available on the KHDA website, 3-4 pages as a pdf download for 2008-2009, and the full 20 page report for 2009-2010.

KHDA and school fee increases in Dubai
  • Up until 2008, schools in Dubai were permitted up to 16% increase in school fees every 2 years.
  • UAE Ministry of Education permits up to 30% in three years?
  • From 2009, KHDA set the maximum increase to a lower figure depending on school inspection rating (see table below).
  • For the 2010-2011 academic year however, the KHDA said no fee increases were permitted.
Annual fees increase
Parent satisfaction survey Dubai Schools


Last update Friday 05-Oct-2012
Related pages
Related websites (new window)


Abu Dhabi AUH ABD ADB, Ajman AJM, Al Ain AAN, Dubai DXB, Fujairah FUJ, Ras Al Khaimah RAK, Sharjah SHJ, Umm Al Quwain UAQ

DubaiFAQs UAE information guide. Copyright © 2004-2019 www.dubaifaqs.com, Dubai, UAE - United Arab Emirates | blog | Facebook | Twitter |