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Regulators from Dubai and Abu Dhabi have come together in Malaysia to share the UAE’s strategies for supporting positive practices and promoting the growth of high quality private education. Joined by panelists from Malaysia at the International Private and International Schools Education Forum (IPSEF), the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) shared their ‘Regulators’ Toolkit’ – a resource education regulators around the world could use for their own sectors.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director general of KHDA, said: “When KHDA was established ten years ago, we had a vision to improve the quality of Dubai’s private education sector and build trust by working together with educators, parents and students. In that time, we’ve put in place a number of policies – designed to increase accountability within our sector, create incentives for operators, and engage with parents, educators and students – that have had positive impact on academic achievement and wellbeing. Since 2007, we have learned a great deal about what works best in private sector regulation, and we are very happy to collaborate with our colleagues at ADEC to share this learning with the international community.”

Dr Tareq Al Amiri, ADEC’s Private Schools and Quality Assurance (PSQA) sectors Business Development Manager, stressed the importance of growing and regulating private schools in Abu Dhabi by attracting experienced investors and operators that add value, diversity and capacity to the schools sector.

“ADEC promotes quality in the private schools sector by developing initiatives that attract investors as partners, all the while diversifying our economy by creating strategic partnerships that provide educational opportunities,” said Mr. Al Amiri, adding that all investor applications are assessed based on ADEC’s rules and regulations, in efforts to create a balance between an investor’s requirements, while offering affordable and selective school prices to protect parents.

PSQA’s Business Development Expert further stressed on the importance of monitoring the performance of private schools and the quality of services provided through an inspection process called “Irtiqa’a” – an inspection program used to evaluate schools in the Emirate, based on the UAE School Inspection Framework.

“PSQA supports investments in the private education sector through developing reports and publications that include information about market supply, demand and investment opportunities in Abu Dhabi,” he concluded.

What does the Regulators’ Toolkit include?

  • Collaboration-based initiatives to spread positive practices between teachers and school leaders across Dubai
  • Differentiated policies to enable high-quality new schools to open in Dubai
  • School inspections to build accountability and transparency in the education sector
  • International assessments as an external tool to measure improvement
  • Initiatives to build stronger relationships between education providers and parents
  • Policies to increase the number of Emirati students receiving high-quality education
  • Strategic local and international partnerships to enable further improvement in education
  • Open research and data to increase transparency of the education sector
  • Active engagement with the media and other stakeholders to spread positive messages about education

In numbers – UAE’s policy outcomes

15   new schools opened in Dubai in 2015/16.

70   new private schools opened in Dubai since KHDA was established in 2007.

2    new curricula in Dubai in the last four years (Swiss and Canadian), bringing the total to 17.

61% of students at Dubai’s private schools receive ‘good’ or better education, up from 30% in 2008/09.

2000 Emirati students have moved to private schools in Dubai which offer higher quality education.

10   new schools opened in Abu Dhabi in the 2016/2017 academic year.

AED 5 billion  generated by Abu Dhabi’s 65 private schools in the last 6 years.

70%  of Abu Dhabi private schools inspected in the last three inspection cycles have shown improvement.


– KHDA Media