Eight Abu Dhabi private schools ranked outstanding for promoting national identity

Abu Dhabi's private education regulator announces first results in programme promoting use of Arabic language and celebrating country's heritage

Abu Dhabi private schools were assessed for their work promoting national identity. Victor Besa / The National
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Eight Abu Dhabi private schools received top marks for their work promoting UAE identity and use of the Arabic language among Emirati pupils in a new education league table.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge – the capital's private education regulator – carried out inspections at 87 schools in the emirate under the National Identity Mark, an annual school rating system to measure work being done to integrate core Emirati values into studies.

The initiative was announced by the authority in May with the results released on Thursday.

The top eight school earning the outstanding rating were: The British International School Abu Dhabi; Sheikh Zayed Academy for Girls; Sheikh Zayed Academy for Boys; Emirates National Schools, MBZ City; Al Ittihad National Private School, Khalifa City; Al Ittihad National Private School, Shakhbout City; Emirates National Schools, Branch 3; and Adnoc Schools, Sas Al Nakhl.

A further 21 schools were ranked good, 35 deemed acceptable and 23 marked weak. The names of these schools were not disclosed in the report.

The schools were selected for the first phase on inspections as they have the highest number of Emirati pupils in the emirate.

Promoting Emirati values

The evaluations encompass three central principles – culture, values and citizenship.

The culture category covers history, heritage and the Arabic language, which has been earmarked as a focus area.

The values section comprises respect, compassion, and global understanding.

Citizenship takes in topics such as a sense of belonging, volunteering, and conservation.

Adek teams will revisit the 87 schools during the course of the 2023-2024 academic year to review their progress.

The next round of inspections will take place during the next school year.

"Following every inspection cycle, the emirate's private schools will receive comprehensive reports outlining improvement recommendations to enhance students' experiences and sense of belonging and pride," said a statement from Abu Dhabi Media Office.

"While prioritising schools with the highest number of Emirati students in future inspection cycles, Adek encourages private schools without national enrolment to opt for evaluations of relevant activities designed to engage expatriate students with the country's rich heritage and deep-rooted traditions."

Boosting national identity

Minister of State for Early Education Sara Musallam, who is also Adek's chairwoman, underlined the importance of the assessment programme after its launch in May.

“We recognise the importance of cultivating a robust national identity that anchors our Emirati students in their culture,” she said.

“The launch of the National Identity Mark and inspection framework will provide parents with valuable insights into the quality of national identity programmes in private schools.

“For many parents, the reinforcement of national identity by education is of critical importance as it helps instil in their children a sense of belonging and pride.

“By strengthening national identity through educational programmes, schools can support students to further appreciate their roots, traditions, and values. The National Identity Mark will increase transparency and accountability, while enabling parents to make informed decisions about their children's education.

“This directly supports the development of well-rounded individuals who are proud of their Emirati identity [and] are equipped to positively represent Abu Dhabi and the UAE on a global scale.”

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Updated: August 03, 2023, 12:16 PM