Abdullah bin Zayed emphasises necessity of assessing learning outcomes; monitoring school performance

ABU DHABI, 7th June, 2023 (WAM) -- H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Education and Human Resources Council (EHRC), said that fulfilling the UAE's future aspirations is mostly dependent on developing a top-notch educational system that is continually updated to meet the demands of a contemporary society and a changing global economy.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah made the statements while chairing the council's virtual meeting recently, during which he emphasised the significance of monitoring and assessing learning outcomes and school performance, as well as providing ongoing and prompt support for them to enhance their quality.

Sheikh Abdullah commenced the meeting by extending a warm welcome to H.H Sheikha Maryam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Chairperson of Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and the Vice-Chairperson of the Education and Human Resources Council. He wished her success in her new role and responsibilities.

"Her Highness Sheikha Maryam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is an outstanding addition to our educational journey. She has a genuine passion for developing and improving the education sector," Sheikh Abdullah said, expressing great confidence that "her extensive experience and broad knowledge will play a vital role in empowering the education sector to achieve the bright future we aspire to for the benefit of our children, youth, and the future of our nation."

“Today, I reviewed public school performance results as well as private school quality inspection results. The Council will continue to track their progress and update the key performance indicators. Today, we've approved a comprehensive plan to ensure students' enrollment in the best-performing schools in the country by updating the education quality inspection and assessment framework, which should reflect an accurate and unified gauge of performance between public and private schools in the coming years under the supervision of the National Center for Educational Quality. Boosting the educational quality of our students and developing a knowledgeable generation of competent individuals is a primary focus for us in a manner that aligns with the UAE's objectives and needs.”

Sheikh Abdullah added, “High-quality education is unavoidably necessary for success and excellence in all disciplines, according to research linking the concepts of educational quality with future aspirations. For students at various educational levels, schools serve as lighthouses that illuminate the path of education and human growth, enabling them to identify their abilities, hone their skills, and broaden their academic, cultural, and leadership horizons.”

"We continue to be proud of the high performing schools and their achievement, and we express our deep appreciation for their continuous efforts to advance the quality of the educational outcomes," he said, extending his congratulations to the schools that had received a high performance rating. “These schools play a crucial role in shaping the UAE's future generations, and we wish them continued success and excellence.”

For her part, H.H. Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairperson of Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and Vice Chair of the Council for Education and Human Resources, said, "We remain committed to our vision of an education ecosystem that can meet the needs of all our learners and enable our nation’s prosperity and sustainable progress. Inspecting and evaluating the performance of the education system play a crucial role in identifying strengths and weaknesses and determining areas that need improvement."

She added, “Having an accurate, standardised, and objective measurement and evaluation will be critical for us to succeed in our aspirations. It contributes to monitoring the level of achieving our educational goals and directing our efforts towards improving the quality of education, as well as raising the performance level in both the government and private education sectors in the UAE.”
The meeting convened in the presence of H.H. Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairperson of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, Vice-Chairperson of the Education and Human Resources Council, Dr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Balhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, Shamma Bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Community Development, Secretary-General of the Council, Dr. Abdulrahman bin Abdul Mannan Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, Sarah Bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for General Education and Advanced Technology, Sara Awad Issa Muslim, Minister of State for Early Education, Jassim Mohammed Bou Ataba Al Zaabi, President of the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance, and Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Al Karam, Director-General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai, and Dr. Muhaditha Yahya Al Hashimi, President of the Sharjah Private Education Authority. The council discussed several topics, the most prominent of which was reviewing the performance results of government schools in the country and the performance inspection results of private schools in the country.

During the meeting, the council discussed a comprehensive analysis of the performance results of both government and private schools, comparing them with the results of international assessments. The council reviewed an integrated action plan to improve the measures used in inspecting and evaluating the quality of education in schools, including updating the inspection and evaluation framework to ensure a unified framework for both government and private schools. This framework will be reviewed, developed, and supervised by the National Center for Education Quality in coordination with all relevant entities, in line with the international best practices in education quality measurement tools. Additionally, the council discussed a number of strategic policies aimed at improving school performance and ensuring that Emirati students enroll in the best-performing schools in the coming years.

For his part, Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, presented the performance results of private schools in the Northern Emirates. He explained that the ministry has completed school inspection visits during the academic year 2022/2023 to 93 private schools in the Northern Emirates with their various curricula. In general, the results indicated that 10% of the schools in the Northern Emirates achieved a good level of performance, while 74% of the schools reached an acceptable level. However, 16% of these schools obtained a weak level of performance.
For her part, Sarah Bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Schools Establishment presented the results of students in public schools in both the Central Examinations for the second semester and the MAP Growth Mathematics assessments, as well as the International reading assessment "PIRLS." Various measurement tools were utilized to determine the student’s skills that require focused attention from the establishment.

For her part, Sara Musallam, Minister of State for Early Education and Chairperson of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), presented the system of standardised international examinations implemented in private schools in Abu Dhabi, including the International Student Assessment Programme. She emphasised the importance of the system in providing a significant indicator of the development of outcomes in the national education sector.

Musallam also highlighted the role of the assessment in enabling ADEK to monitor the changes in students’ performance on an annual basis. While the authorities strive to improve students' overall results at the international level, the priority is to ensure their ability to achieve better results each year. She added that the development of the education sector is a continuous strategic mission, where each achievement opens greater horizons to align its outcomes with the constantly changing demands of the job market.

Dr. Abdullah Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai highlighted the key findings of the school inspection process in all private schools in Dubai, which underwent inspections during the current academic year 2022-2023, a total number of 199 schools He added noted that the schools demonstrated commitment to improving their performance, and expressed his appreciation for the contributions and support of parents and the educational community in Dubai for their efforts in providing high-quality education.

Meanwhile, Dr. Muhadditha Yahya Al Hashimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Private Education Authority, presented the results of the "Etqan" program, which aims to develop and enhance the quality of school performance in all aspects. The program was implemented from October of the previous year to March of the current year, with the goal of inspecting and evaluating the performance of 110 schools representing 10 different curricula out of the total 127 private schools in the Emirate.

Dr. Al Hashimi clarified that the programme results showed a significant and qualitative improvement in the performance of private schools in Sharjah, reaching 68% compared to the previous evaluation conducted in 2018 and 2019. The previous evaluation showed that most schools in the emirate provided very weak, weak, or acceptable education. By comparing the previous and current results, a clear difference and a tangible level of improvement in schools are evident. Currently, 97% of private schools in Sharjah offer acceptable or better education, and 49% of schools offer good or better education. As a result, the number of schools providing good or better education increased from only 8 schools in the previous evaluation to 53 schools in 2023, while the number of schools offering acceptable or below education decreased from 94 schools in 2018 and 2019 to 56 schools in 2023.