Standards at many of Dubai’s private schools have a long way to go, according to a new school inspection report. Majority of the schools failed to make the cut and were rated below good. Sixty-five were termed ‘acceptable’, while 13 schools languished at the bottom ‘unsatisfactory’ category, raising questions on the pace of improvement at these institutions. Only 49 were rated good and the silver lining came in the form of 11 schools which were graded ‘outstanding’ with five schools joining the list from last year. The inspections were conducted by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) of the KHDA at 138 private schools, which provide education to 87 per cent of students in the emirate. “Just under half of Dubai’s students still attend schools providing, overall, an acceptable quality of education. There are around 95,000 students in such schools and this is not significantly different from the previous year,” the report said. Jameela Al Muhairi, Chief of Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) highlighted issues facing unsatisfactory schools as she said, “Most staff do not have suitable qualification and expertise to provide a good learning experience to these students. The curriculum and examinations are not based on recognised qualifications and students have made slow progress in Islamic and Arabic education.” The report by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) highlights shortcomings of these schools while noting improvements in some schools. Only five schools have improved their ratings from good to outstanding schools, taking the total number of outstanding schools to 11. While good and outstanding schools have emphasised on improving education, schools in the unsatisfactory category have continued to show no improvement. “Thirteen schools are rated as unsatisfactory and although fewer students attend such schools in comparison with the first year of inspection, a significant number of these schools have been unsatisfactory over the full period of inspection,” said the report. Most schools have not been successful in improving their overall rating this year despite the rapid improvements noted in the first year of inspection. This indicates that improvements in overall performance have slowed, especially in acceptable schools, noted the report. Dr Howard Reed, Senior Director, Higher Colleges of Technology and Director of Dubai Women’s College highlighted the challenges facing public and private schools as he said, “Students from private schools are marginally better than students from public school. However, students still have discipline issues. Language development is also a cause of concern as private school students are weak in Arabic.” Every year schools in Dubai are inspected by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) which evaluates a school on various criteria. The inspection results are provided to parents and schools annually as schools are categorised into outstanding, good, acceptable and unsatisfactory category.