Dubai's top performing schools can opt out of regular assessments, says KHDA

Schools invited to participate in knowledge sharing initiative to improve standards across the emirate
By Parinaaz Navdar
Tue 28 Jun 2016 11:18 AM

High-achieving schools in Dubai have been invited to share their learning with others as part of a new initiative to increase the quality of all schools in Dubai.

The Abundance Group project, initiated by Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) will allow schools rated very good and outstanding the option of a differentiated inspection based on self-evaluation, allowing them to focus their resources on giving back to other schools.

During the first year of the project, schools that choose to participate in the Abundance Group will not be subject to formal inspections by the Dubai School Inspections Bureau.

Principals from 16 schools rated outstanding and 13 very good met with KHDA officials on Sunday to discuss more details about the project.

Further information, including the framework and benchmarks for improvement, is expected to be revealed when the new academic year begins.

As part of the initiative, schools within a group, for example GEMS Education or Taaleem, will not be allowed to help schools within the same network.

Schools wishing to participate in the Abundance Group project will be invited to attend a design-thinking session at the start of the next academic year in September.

Commenting on the Abundance Group, KHDA director general Dr Abdulla Al Karam said: "At this stage, we believe it is essential to map out a different way forward; a smarter approach that makes good use of the abundant knowledge, skills and talents our schools have, and enables them to share these with others in Dubai."

"We are confident that schools in Dubai will continue to improve in the future, and we trust in the commitment to excellence that our highest achieving schools have shown."

This marks the first time an education regulator in the UAE has offered schools a choice to carry out self-evaluations instead of formal inspections in order to help improve standards across other poor performing schools.

Earlier this year, during a headteacher roundtable held by Education Journal Middle East, school principals in the UAE also called for flexibility in the inspection cycle to allow outstanding schools to help others improve standards.

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