Child data mandatory for new Dubai school contract

Medical, psychological and educational assessments must be provided by parents on registration
(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)
By Shane McGinley
Mon 17 Jun 2013 09:28 AM

Dubai parents will be required to provide schools with their children’s accurate medical, psychological and educational assessment records as part of a new mandatory contract which will be phased in from the start of the new term later this year, the emirate’s education authority has announced.

The new School Parent Contract, which was unveiled by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on Sunday, is aimed at reducing the number of disputes between parents and schools.

The contract has been designed to “promote positive relationships and protect the rights of both schools and families,” the KHDA said. The document will cover issues such as refund and admission policies, school fees, attendance and punctuality, as well as health and safety provision and transportation.

As part of the “legally binding initiative” parents will be required to provide schools with their children’s accurate medical, psychological and educational assessment records.

The contract will be mandatory for student registration and will initially be rolled out to six schools at the start of the 2013/14 academic year. Its effectiveness “in reducing disputes between parents and schools will be undertaken during this time” and it likely to be expanded in due course.

The schools to be covered in phase one include Dubai Modern Education School, Al Ittihad Private School -Al Mamzar, Al Ittihad Private School - Jumeriah, School of Modern Skills, Greenwood International School and American Academy in Al Mizhar, which will include a total of 9,632 students.

“Constructive relationships between schools and families are essential to ensuring excellence in education,” said Amal Bel Hasa, chief of compliance and resolution commission at the KHDA. “A detailed list of terms and conditions will be beneficial to both schools and parents, enabling them to fully understand expectations and responsibilities.

“In addition to this contract, schools should have effective procedures to address and mitigate parental concerns and complaints. At the same time it’s important we recognise the vital role parents play as a resource in the educational experience of their children. We’d like to thank the schools for their participation,” Bel Hasa added.

The document contains procedures for resolving disputes, together with details of how schools and parents can appeal against decisions, the KHDA said.

Earlier this year, the KHDA raised concerns about the leadership of private schools in the emirate, particularly highlighting 54 schools that are under-performing.

In its latest inspection report, the education authority said one-third of private schools had poor leadership, which included all management levels.

It was weakest in schools offering the UAE curriculum or other minority national curricula such as Pakistani. UK and French schools tended to perform better.

Inspectors said there was a lack of expertise among some school leaders, as well as poor understanding of what constitutes effective teaching and learning and little experience in international best practice.

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