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The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has announced the release of a much anticipated Private Schools Policy and Guidance (PSPG) Manual, which helps provide clarity and transparency of all of Abu Dhabi’s private schools regulations and policies.

The PSPG Manual, which consists of 81 policies in 22 chapters, elaborates on the existing regulations for private schools in Abu Dhabi, which was released last year, while providing a legal basis for all aspects of the private school sector, and defining the rights and responsibilities of students, teachers, school leaders and investors/operators.

Commenting on the crucial initiative, Her Excellency Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Director General at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), said: “The release of the PSPG Manual is a major milestone for ADEC, particularly for the Private Schools and Quality Assurance (PSQA) Sector, who have worked conscientiously to align the policies in par with national, regional and international benchmarks and best practices.”

Dr. Al Qubaisi added: “The PSPG Manual offers transparent and vital explanations on all of ADEC’s private school Regulations, since each article of the Regulation is supported by a policy. Key articles/policies will include curriculum, admissions, special education needs, extra-curricular activities, governance, student behavior, internet security, teacher licensing and qualifications and professional and ethical code of conduct.”

“Private schools have a comprehensive and solid regulatory framework that helps protect the rights of the school, investor, operator and most importantly the rights of students and their parents/guardians. Through these policies, schools are expected to deliver high quality teaching and learning opportunities to students, implement measures to best protect the safety of students at all times including bus transportation, and improve the governance of school operations,” emphasized Her Excellency.

“One of the important key policies among many others includes a clear and transparent approach to regulating tuition fees ensuring they mirror the quality of education offered, while allowing parents/guardians enough time to pay fees in a timely and convenient manner,” said Dr. Al Qubaisi.

The Manual helps explain a new payment/reimbursement mechanism for late starts and early exits from school, as well as offering vital key policies for students such as directing schools to admit students with mild to moderate special education needs and/or disabilities, thus allowing them equal educational opportunities.

As part of the new policies, schools will be required to have boards of trustees that include parent and teacher representatives, and new rights for parents/guardians including: the right to meet their child’s teachers at least twice a year, visiting each child’s classroom at least once a year with permission of the principal, and receiving regular reports on their child’s progress.

The PSPG Manual, which came into effect September 2014, under administrative decree # 165, consists of policies that are benchmarked against federal and local regulations under the prudent and wise directives of the Abu Dhabi government, and as part of Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030 to graduate a strong and competent workforce of youth.

In efforts to help private schools better understand the PSPG Manual, private school leaders have already received extensive training on over 60 per cent of the Manual’s policies through 24 workshops delivered by ADEC’s PSQA’s Policy team from September 2013 to March 2014.

At these workshops the rights and responsibilities of all stakeholders were clearly defined. School leaders were trained on important subject areas such as school transportation, health and safety, child protection, teaching quality, parental rights and tuition management. ADEC informed all private school leaders that attendance is “mandatory” for the welfare and safety of students and the school community at large.

“The PSPG Manual, in conjunction with the training workshops, provides the proper support for private schools to help understand ADEC requirements, ultimately elevating the quality of education across well regulated schools. School leaders will be trained on half of the remaining policies this school year through a further 12 workshops and the outstanding policies the year later,” said Engineer Hamad Al Dhaheri, PSQA’s Executive Director.

Schools will be trained by ADEC on the remaining Regulations and policies over the next year and a half.

ADEC consulted parents, principals, teachers and private school investors/operators in the development of the policies to ensure all segments of the school community were heard from and that different ideas “from those who matter the most” were highly considered.

Engineer Al Dhaheri stressed on the fact that the policies provide clear indications to schools as to how ADEC would like them to operate.

“The diversity of school curriculums across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was highly considered while developing the regulatory framework. Despite these schools offering different curriculums the principle of continuous improvement remains applicable to all. I encourage everyone involved with private schools to adhere to this Policy Manual for the benefit of students, parents, teachers and the community as a whole,” stressed ADEC’s PSQA Executive Director.

To download the PSPG Manual in Arabic you may access the following URL on ADEC’s portal. The English PSPG Manual will be forthcoming.