Half of Dubai private school pupils now back for in-person classes

Occupancy has hit 52 per cent, the highest since schools reopened last September

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More than half of pupils in Dubai are now attending in-person lessons, the highest number since private schools reopened their doors last year.

Fifty-two per cent are back in classrooms, with the remainder still studying remotely.

The city’s private school regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, also said enrolment had risen by about 10,000, or 3.9 per cent, since September 2020.

It's great to see that parents have placed their confidence and trust in schools

Today, 97 per cent of eligible school staff have had at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot.

The authorities have expanded the vaccination drive to teenagers aged 16 and 17, and a smaller number aged 12 to 15 have received the shots.

“Parents have always had the choice of distance or face-to-face learning for their children,” said Abdulla Al Karam, director general of the KHDA.

“It’s great to see that parents have placed their confidence and trust in schools and that the government’s safety protocols continue to be rigorously implemented.

“It’s also great that pupils are able to spend time with their friends and teachers in person every day.”

The KHDA report includes new data on early childhood education in Dubai that is expected to help enhance the growth and quality of the sector in the months and years to come.

The latest figures include the number of early childhood centres in the emirate, as well as the numbers of their pupils and teachers.

As of June 2021, more than 10,000 children were attending 169 private early-childhood centres in Dubai, also referred to as nurseries or early learning centres.

Eight additional early childhood centres are expected to open by the end of this year.

In other developments, 92 per cent of teachers at early childhood centres have teaching qualifications, while 10 new schools will open in the 2021/22 academic year.

“The first five years of our lives form the foundation for the kind of adults we will become,” Dr Al Karam said.

“High-quality early childhood education and care is crucial to creating a happy and healthy population, as well as a dynamic and future-focused Dubai. By gathering and sharing data on this sector, we hope to give it greater visibility and encourage even more growth.

“We’re grateful to all the centres we’ve worked with so far, and we look forward to deepening our relationship with them for the benefit of our youngest children and their families in Dubai.”

Pupil enrolment, meanwhile, has grown steadily at Dubai’s private schools over the past year.

In November 2020, 279,191 pupils were enrolled at 210 private schools in Dubai - this has now increased to 289,991.

A KHDA report from last November found that 30 new private schools had opened in the emirate between the academic years 2017 and 2020.

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