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Private schools will soon experience changes in the way they are inspected, following new measures announced by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Welcoming school principals at a gathering to celebrate the beginning of the new academic year, school leaders were informed of the changes for the 2019-20 inspection cycle.

Schools that were rated ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Good’ in the previous inspection cycle will now receive review-visits aimed at ensuring they continue to provide high-quality education.

Schools inspectors will also assess plans put in place by schools to ensure that Emirati students are making progress towards reaching their potential. In addition to evaluating student attainment and progress, they will focus on the extent to which schools are fostering and cultivating Emirati students’ talents and skills.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of the KHDA said, “Private school inspections began in Dubai 11 years ago and this year is very special to us because the graduating class represents a full cohort that has benefited from our policies with substantial improvements in our schools. Our reports have given parents clear and helpful information that reassures them of the quality of education, as well as informs them of their children’s future education choices.”

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of KHDA, addressing school leaders during a welcome event for principals hosted at Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

Following extensive feedback from the community, the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) will shorten the notice period given to schools before inspections begin, from three weeks to five working days.

Additionally, inspections will continue to focus on priority areas, which include the National Agenda, moral education, UAE social studies, innovation, inclusion and reading.

More than 185 school leaders and principals were informed of the new developments at a recent principal gathering hosted by the KHDA.

Explaining the changes, Fatma Belrehif, CEO of the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) said, “After 11 years of inspection, our schools have a deeper understanding of self-evaluation and inspection processes, and are able to engage with the inspection process with a shorter notification period. We have listened to useful feedback from parents, students, teachers, principals and school operators about our school inspections and made some changes to the way we inspect schools. Our inspectors will be spending more time in schools that need more development” added Fatma.

New schools in Dubai will also continue to benefit from pre-inspection visits leading to a full-inspection in the school’s third year of operation.

A further change reiterating the KHDA’s commitment to minimise the environmental impact of inspection work will see inspectors operate on a paperless platform. Schools will be expected to use more sustainable ways of showcasing their strengths, ensuring a move away from paper-documents during the inspection process.

“We trust that all schools will join us in our effort to make inspections more sustainable.  Inspectors will access electronic copies of all documents uploaded by the school onto the DSIB platform and cut down on the use of paper documents during inspections” explained Fatma.

These changes will be implemented from the start of the twelfth inspection cycle beginning next month.

Parents and learners will still be able to read school inspection reports on the KHDA website (

Focus areas for school inspections in 2019

  • Social Studies: This is now a key subject and students’ attainment across the school will be evaluated and reported on.
  • National Agenda: This continues to be an important strategic initiative and inspectors will measure and monitor each school’s improvement towards achieving their individual National Agenda targets.
  • Inclusion: Inspectors will continue to increase expectations of the quality of provision provided to students of determination.
  • Moral Education: Inspectors will review schools’ compliance with the UAE’s requirements for Moral Education, in addition to the school’s response to survey data and the impact this has on students’ well-being, happiness and moral development.
  • Innovation: Further emphasis will be placed on how well the school has embedded innovation across the school’s leadership, curriculum, learning and teaching.


  • Reading across the curriculum: This year the focus of DSIB will continue to be on reading in all subjects, and the development of students’ skills and strategies for reading in English and Arabic as a first language. Additionally, schools are expected to provide evidence of their ongoing assessment of students’ reading skills in these languages.