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Schools in Dubai will soon have essential data to enable them to further improve the happiness and wellbeing of their students. Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) will work together with the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) in South Australia on a comprehensive project to measure the wellbeing of students and track their improvement over a five-year period.

The census will cover Grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 (equivalent to Year 6, 7, 8 and 9) at all private schools in Dubai – approximately 70,000 students. The project will give policymakers and school leaders a detailed understanding of students’ wellbeing across curriculum, nationality, and grade level, enabling them to make evidence-based changes that will have long-term positive impact on their student and wider school community.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director general of KHDA, said: “Many schools in Dubai already view teaching and learning through the lens of student wellbeing, and we’ve seen great improvement in both academic results and sense of happiness and purpose. This project marks the next step in Dubai’s journey towards a sector-wide approach to positive education, and will give schools the data they need to fully integrate wellbeing and positivity into their culture as well as their teaching and learning practices.

“Our friends from DECD have extensive experience in carrying out similar projects in South Australia and internationally, and we look forward to working together on this initiative to bring more happiness and wellbeing to our communities.”

David Engelhardt, director of DECD said: “Our experience with schools in South Australia and abroad has shown that wellbeing works for schools and children. We will work together with Dubai’s schools to develop a census adapted to the context and needs of Dubai and its students, the results of which will be shared with schools. We’re happy to play this small part in developing the capacity of Dubai’s schools and to work with KHDA in making happiness and wellbeing more recognised around the world.”

The project builds on the School of Hearts and Minds survey, which has been measuring student wellbeing in Dubai since 2014. With support from DECD, school leaders and teachers will be offered workshops to understand how the census will work and how they can use the data to inform their policies.

The Department has significant experience in collecting wellbeing information internationally. It has worked with governments to develop, test and implement wellbeing measures at scale. It has also worked with the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to measure the wellbeing of students taking the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) in Australia and other countries.

– KHDA Media