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Insight 12/12/2018

Setting up the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau

Education Development Trust has built a reputation as the world's leading authority on school inspections, evaluations and accountability. In 2007 the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) along with Education Development Trust assisted in the development of the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB).

The context

Working in partnership with KHDA, we designed and delivered all aspects of the building of the new agency – DSIB. This approach led to the creation of an inspection regime that now brings about school improvement and raises the standard of education offered in Dubai.

Education Development Trust is honoured to have developed a strong strategic partnership with KHDA, focused on strategic advice, joint research opportunities and consultancy to meet emerging client priorities. Following the original design and development of DSIB, Education Development Trust provided a resource pool of specialist international inspectors from which KHDA have staffed their school inspection teams for 134 private school inspections covering 13 different curricula during 2013-14. 

Our approach

Education Development Trust’s role was to build capacity within KHDA through the design and implementation of a school inspection system and associated infrastructure for private and government schools in Dubai.

Alongside this, Education Development Trust was tasked with assessing the educational quality of all of Dubai's schools with the tried-and-tested inspection methodology, as well as support the building of capacity within schools by providing reliable performance information to parents and policy makers, enabling them to make informed judgements.

The project was laid out in four phases: development, implementation, transition to local leadership and business as usual.

Phase 1 of our engagement in the DSIB programme saw the development of an organisational blue-print for DSIB including all requisite strategies, processes, structures, stakeholder management systems, infrastructure and financial models. By using best practice models from other industries, Education Development Trust ensured the new organisation would be fit-for-purpose and benchmarked against widely recognised standards for organisational excellence. The work included an assessment of the current education system, a systems benchmarking study of the top five inspection systems world-wide, a plan for implementation and much more. Education Development Trust also developed the inspection framework to be used by the inspectors.

Phases 2 and 3 consisted of working in a joint team with KHDA to transform the theoretical blueprint into an operational entity. Phase 3 provided training, coaching and mentoring for DSIB staff and Emirati inspectors. This also involved the confirmation of a strategy for moving towards verified school self-evaluation as the main form of school inspection.

Phase 4, which continues today, sees Education Development Trust providing a resource pool of specialist international inspectors and quality assuring a representative sample of DSIB inspection teams each year in addition to KHDA's in-house quality assurance capacity. Education Development Trust is privileged to be a strategic friend to KHDA providing advice and consultancy services as well as carrying out joint research projects.

Our impact

As a result of this partnership, DSIB rapidly established an outstanding reputation for the consistent high quality of its inspections. The headline data from inspection judgements in Dubai over the first three years clearly illustrates the impact. In 2008-09, around 20,000 students attended schools that provided an unsatisfactory quality of education. In 2010-11 that number has reduced by half. The percentage of good/outstanding teaching has risen from 34% in 2008-09 to 55% in 2010-11. The incidence of unsatisfactory teaching fell during the same time period from 12% to 1%.

Exceeding client satisfaction

DSIB was delighted by the impact that the inspections had on Dubai's schools within the first year. Feedback was gathered from principals regarding the extent to which the inspection findings are helpful in moving the school forward. The graph to the right shows the feedback received. In 2014, KHDA awarded Education Development Trust with the Supplier of the Year Award (Excellence in Service Delivery), demonstrating their satisfaction with the services provided.

In 2014, the World Bank recognised the excellence of the agency in a publication identifying the Bureau as a world-class centre of excellence.

The strongly positive ratings from principals and staff indicate that most schools consider the inspections to have been timely and beneficial in helping them to build on existing strengths and to identify the areas where improvement was most needed. Many schools are already responding well to the recommendations made in their inspection reports.
DSIB annual report

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