Three quarters of Dubai's private schools offer 'very high' or 'high' well-being support

Mental health provisions offered to learners ranked for first time by inspectors

DUBAI, UAE. August 31, 2014 - Students return for the first day of school at New Delhi Private School in Dubai, August 31, 2014. (Photos by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: STANDALONE, NEWS)
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Almost three quarters of Dubai's private schools provide “very high” or “high” well-being provisions for pupils, the emirate's latest education performance league table reveals.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai's private education regulator, ranked schools on their focus on mental health for the first time in its inspections report for the 2022-23 academic year.

The authority rated 199 private schools in the comprehensive round of assessments, the results of which were issued last month.

It awarded 74 per cent of schools the top “very high” or “high” rating.

The study stated that more than 80 per cent of Dubai schools ensure pupils feel consistently positive about their time in school.

Customised summary reports for each school have been shared with parents, outlining the key findings relating to their child's school.

The reports take into consideration performance indicators such as quality of teaching, well-being provision, evaluation of key subjects, and areas of strength and improvement.

“Various studies indicate that there is a strong correlation between student well-being and academic achievement,” said Fatma Belrehif, chief executive of the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau, which assesses schools on behalf of the KHDA.

“We are pleased to see consistently high well-being levels across schools in Dubai. School leaders are committed to providing a positive and supportive environment that supports student well-being, and we encourage them to continue using data to evaluate and improve the well-being provision in their schools.”

Schools across the globe have sought to support the well-being of pupils since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pressures of studying remotely, along with the challenges of an eventual return to classroom, took a toll on many young learners.

Forty-seven Dubai schools received the top rating for their well-being strategies, with another 100 securing the “high” ranking.

Fifty schools' well-being services were assessed as moderate, with two schools given a “low” rating.

In December, Dubai introduced an action plan to boost well-being among pupils and staff at the emirate's private schools.

The Wellbeing Matters initiative seeks to build on the findings of the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census and help schools put well-being and mental health strategies in place.

It aims to place an emphasis on the unique needs of pupils and their families and help to develop an inclusive learning culture.

The report found that the well-being of teachers and other staff members must be a core focus for school leaders.

The guide includes specific areas in which schools will be evaluated, such as how well they are leading a well-being culture; how well they are listening to the needs of their pupils and staff members; and how they are creating policies and processes to improve pupil well-being.

The Dubai Student Wellbeing Census, conducted annually for five years, involved more than 100,000 pupils each year.

Customised parent summary reports are now available on the KHDA website under each school’s directory listing.

How Dubai schools ranked and how much can fees rise?

Twenty Dubai schools were rated outstanding in the school inspections.

There were 25 schools that improved their performance from the previous inspection in 2019.

The report also showed that more than three quarters (77 per cent) of pupils in Dubai attend private schools rated good or better, compared to 70 per cent during the last full inspection cycle in the 2018/19 academic year.

Some Dubai private schools will be allowed to increase tuition fees by up to 6 per cent in the 2023-2024 academic year, based on their performance in inspections.

The KHDA made the announcement in March, saying operational costs and the economic situation in the emirate were factors in the decision.

Tuition fees for Dubai's private schools had been frozen for the past three academic years.

The regulator said only schools which maintained or improved their inspection ratings would be allowed to increase fees.

Schools that maintained their inspection ratings will be eligible to raise tuition fees by up to 3 per cent.

Schools that improved their rating from “weak” to “acceptable” and from “acceptable” to “good” can increase fees by up to 6 per cent.

Schools that moved from “good” to “very good” can increase fees by 5.25 per cent.

Schools that improve from “very good” to “outstanding” can apply a 4.5 per cent rise.

Updated: May 01, 2023, 1:02 PM