Teachers take aim at 'laborious' school inspections

Teachers and pupils say the performance put on for school inspectors is tiresome and defeats the purpose of inspections.
Students attend an English class at the Indian High School in Dubai.
Students attend an English class at the Indian High School in Dubai.

DUBAI // Results of the latest inspections at Asian curriculum schools will be released later this month, but teachers have already delivered their verdict of the assessment process: unsatisfactory.

For many teachers, the annual evaluation by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) - which evaluates schools on seven categories and rates them as outstanding, good, acceptable or unsatisfactory - is simply a burden.

"There is so much unwanted clerical work involved and this is getting to a lot of teachers," said an educator at an Indian school.

"The KHDA [Knowledge and Human Development Authority] inspection itself is not the problem. It is the few weeks before they visit that the management becomes really demanding because they want to look good."

The educator said the minute details they were asked to look into were not even sought by the inspectors.

"Schools do not know what DSIB wants so they make us prepare files, analyse question papers and prepare additional lesson plans," she said. "After doing all that we are told that it wasn't required."

Another teacher at an Indian school that was rated good in past inspections said staff worked long days in the week before the start of the visits.

"We are asked to stay back after school to prepare the bulletin boards," she said. "I don't think all the work is justified by the Dh2,500 salary we are paid."

Parents and pupils agree that schools go overboard with activities for a week during the inspectors' visits.

"The food in the canteen is replaced with healthier options," said Prathana Bala, 13.

"The teachers bring out their best tools and start being more interactive. They should do this all year round, right?"

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director general of the KHDA, which runs the DSIB, said he had received feedback on these issues.

"We have heard these complaints and I say to them that the inspectors are experienced enough to differentiate between those who are faking it and schools that are genuine in improving," Dr Al Karam said.

He said interviews with pupils also revealed a lot.

School heads were also quick to defend the additional work as "positive stress".

Ashok Kumar, chief executive of the Indian High School, said: "There is a fine line between unnatural stress and a positive encouragement.

 

aahmed@thenational.ae

Published: February 1, 2012 04:00 AM

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