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KHDA Dubai

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Knowledge and Human Development Authority Dubai

KHDA reports 2012 released for 2011-2012 on 27 February 2011 for Indian and Pakistan schools, and 08 May 2012 for other schools.

The KHDA is a Dubai government authority that oversees education, both private and public, in Dubai, having taken over the role from the Dubai Education Council in 2007. The KHDA remit is to develop both the education and human resource sectors in Dubai. Licensing of all educational institutes in Dubai (including those located in free zones in Dubai) is governed by the KHDA.

  • KHDA chairman and director general is Dr Abdullah / Abdulla al Karam.
  • KHDA was founded in March 2007.
  • Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) was founded in December 2007. Head of the DSIB is Jameela Salem Musabih Humaid Al Muhairi.
  • Dubai Education Council (DEC) was established in July 2005 (or 2003 according to some reports).
KHDA IB partnership
  • 27 Sep 2012 (press release) - KHDA and the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) have signed a partnership agreement. IB representatives will join the DSIB inspectors on their inspection trips to Dubai schools following IB curriculums to check on the inspections. The partnership also plans to increase the number of IB schools in Dubai, and research how the IB program impacts on Emirati students getting involved in community activities.
KHDA Dubai school fee increases
KHDA Regulation and Compliance Commission (RCC)
  • Head of the KHDA RCC is Mohammed Darwish.
  • The RCC issues Educational Service Permits for institutes in Dubai.
  • Contact email rcc@khda.gov.ae.
KHDA Education Service Permits
  • KHDA will issue Education Service Permits to all schools (and nurseries?), universities and colleges, and training institutes in Dubai (press release 17 August 2009).
  • The permits will be required by all institutes wanting to operate in Dubai.
  • Permits will be issued by the Regulation and Compliance Commission (RCC) at the KHDA.
  • Permit should show fees schedule, permitted grades and/or programs, inspection category for schools, UQAIB approval for colleges and universities.
  • Agreement signed between KHDA and Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) in May 2009. The DED issues commercial licences for educational establishments, and will now require an Education Service Permit before they do so (or renew one).
  • Presumably the Dubai Education Service Permit requirement also applies in Dubai free trade zones (but that was not explicitly stated in the press release).
  • From July 2010, KHDA customers can renew, cancel, amend, or apply for new education permits via the newly launched e-services facility on the KHDA website (18 July 2010 press release). This includes both new and existing schools, training institutes, and early learning centres in Dubai.
  • There appears to be some overlap for tertiary level institutes in Dubai. Universities and colleges in Dubai offering degree level programs should have those programs accredited by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR).
Difference between Higher Education Institutes and Training Institutes in Dubai
  • Higher Education Institutes are universities and colleges that offer degree level programs such as Bachelor's Master's, and Doctorates. They might also offer training programs and/or Foundation Level entry programs before starting a degree course.
  • Usually these institutes offer their own degrees but also sometimes in collaboration with an overseas university.
  • Training Institutes offer short-term and longer-term courses in the areas of professional development, technical and work skills enhancement, and other vocational related courses. These courses generally do not lead to any sort of degree.
  • Many training institutes in Dubai (and the UAE) offer distance learning degree level programs from international and foreign universities and colleges. These may well be valid courses, and could be recognised as such by employers and government authorities, but there are some risks associated with enrolling in such courses.
  • Some training institutes in Dubai Free Zones might be licensed by the KHDA to offer Higher Education degrees.
Bogus or scam training institutes in Dubai
  • Training Institutes in Dubai are not authorised to offer degree level courses unless they are in one of the education free zones in Dubai.
  • A prospective student can ask to see the KHDA Educational Services Permit for an institute, college, or university, which will list all permitted activities and programs.
  • Students should not register for any courses offered that are not listed on the permit, or at least be aware of the risks associated with enrolling in such a course, for example: mid-course cancellation by institute with no fee refunds or transfer assistance, course offering unauthorised by parent institute, certificates not issued, permission to sit exams withheld, qualifications not recognised by education authorities, not recognised by employers, not recognised as prerequisites for further study, etc.
  • For any questions, or to query the validity of an institute and/or course, or to report an institute not following the rules, contact the KHDA. Email rcc@khda.gov.ae.
KHDA school inspections

From October to December 2008, the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB), the inspections division of the KHDA, conducted the first Dubai school inspections. It is expected that the DISB will conduct regular inspections in future (annually?). The DISB inspections give each school one of 4 ratings: outstanding, good, acceptable or unsatisfactory. Schools can increase their fees by varying amounts depending on the rating (a good rating means a higher fees increase). The results of the first inspections were released on 02 April 2009, and further results were released on 16 May 2009. A summary is (add your comments to the KHDA school inspection topic):

Date and number of schools rated unsatisfactory    acceptable            good           outstanding          total       
Rating 10 May 2010 21 95 66 5 187
Rating 17 February 2010² 5 11 7 0 23
Rating 16 May 2009¹ 14 63 41 0 118
Rating 02 April 2009 6 34 25 4 69
  1. Mostly western and Arabic curriculum schools. Indian, Iranian, and Pakistani schools not included.
  2. Indian (20) and Pakistani (3) curriculum schools only.
KHDA International Student Assessments

The Program for International Student Assessments (PISA) is an OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) program held every 3 years that ranks students from different countries based on reading and mathematics skills. About 6500 students from 130 schools in Dubai will participate for the first time from 26 April to 14 May 2009, arranged by the KHDA. In a geographical slip-up, the KHDA issued a press release on 14 April 2009 announcing that Dubai, rather than the UAE, was one of the participating countries. Oops.

KHDA contact details
  • Knowledge and Human Development Authority
  • Location: Block 8, Dubai Academic City
  • Postal Address: PO Box 500008, Dubai, UAE
  • Contact details: tel +971 43640000, fax +971 43640001, email info@khda.gov.ae
Last update Friday 05-Oct-2012
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.khda.gov.ae - KHDA website (in Arabic and English), pdf downloads of school inspection reports available

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