More collaboration needed between Dubai schools, report says

Research suggests not enough schools are working together

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - February 14, 2019: General views of Delhi Private School. Rahhal programme is in its second phase and heads of schools are discussing the challenges it faces. Thursday the 14th of February 2019 at The Gardens, Jebel Ali, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Private schools across Dubai are missing opportunities to collaborate with each other and help raise standards, a new report has found.

The study showed teachers in the emirate wanted more exchange schemes between schools and a better reward system for working with other institutions.

Out of the 16 schools surveyed, researchers said fewer than 15 percent of teachers said their school offered the chance to engage with others.

It also suggested only 21 percent of teachers currently shared resources with teachers from other schools.

“Dubai is a remarkable city,” said Simon Thacker, a World Bank education specialist and author of the report.

“From the online survey we found there is a lot of support for collaboration of all kinds.

"Teachers are busy people. The simple idea is can they work together?”

The new report, entitled ‘Collaboration Road: Dubai’s Journey towards Improved School Quality’, was launched at a conference in the city on Sunday.

It found that only three out of 100 teachers working at private schools in Dubai were currently collaborating on projects with other schools.

It also showed only four out of 10 teachers sought help from colleagues within their own school.

Significantly, 60 per cent of teachers said they would welcome opportunities to network with other schools.

"For between-school collaboration, school leaders felt that about a third of their teachers did not know with whom to collaborate, while some (13 percent) suggested that their school was too different from others to be able to work together,” the report said.

Rashmi Nandkeolyar, principal at Delhi Private School in Dubai, said busy schedules meant finding the time for collaboration was hard.

“I haven’t seen many opportunities for teachers from different schools to work together,” she said.

"Opportunities of working within your school are much more than reaching out to teachers in other schools.

"[But] What Works, (a KHDA-run event), is a very rich platform for teachers to collaborate.

“Its format is like a Ted Talk where people discuss what they are doing well in their school. It sparks ideas.”

Hind Al Mualla, head of creativity and innovation at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai’s private school regulator, said she welcomed an increased focus on collaboration.

"We have more than 200 schools [in Dubai],” she said. “Teachers who are collaborating are more likely to be thriving in their schools.”