Sheikh Hamdan Issues Regulations to Make KHDA More Effective
School regulations in Dubai will become tighter as Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, issued a new Executive Council resolution, bestowing more powers on Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to oversee private schools.
The resolution No. (2) of 2017, issued on 5th February, 2017, also enlists the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, including the school administrations, teachers and parents.
Though the KHDA has been regulating the private school sector in Dubai for over a decade now, the new resolution gives it a clearer mandate and greater authority to enforce the rules. Among the key changes that could be seen with the implementation of the new regulation is the greater integration of students with special education needs in private schools, with schools having no choice but to provide the necessary facilities for the students with different abilities.
The resolutions also empowers the KHDA to set the requirements and standards that deliver quality education, receive and investigate complaints, issue initial permits and licences for private schools and determine the adequacy of the proposed location and academic plan for new schools.
Apart from inspecting schools and ensuring compliance, the KHDA is also now authorised to levy penalties in case of violations.
Broadening the reach, the resolution allows the KHDA to manage a database of private schools in Dubai as well as mandating it to forecast and plan the emirate’s future educational needs.
The KHDA’s other powers will include specifying the terms, conditions, policies and procedures required for curriculum accreditation as well as issuing school certificates’ equivalency and attestation.
Taking into consideration the interests of other stakeholders in the sector, the new resolution also establishes the legal framework to further the interests of parents, school operators and investors in Dubai.
The resolution aims to encourage investment in private schooling and best international practices.
It enhances access to high quality education in Dubai, provides assurance to the community, and supports good practices by providing greater transparency, in line with Dubai’s strategic plan.
Covering all organisations that offer private schooling in Dubai, including those in private development zones, free zones and Dubai International Financial Centre, the resolution brings all educational institutions in the emirate under a single umbrella.
Highlighting the responsibilities of the schools, the resolution ensures that all private schools employ qualified teachers, have a clear student safety policy, take responsibility for student safety on school premises, buses and during school trips and have a professional development plan for faculty and staff.
The resolution requires schools to take prior approval for a host of activities including appointment of school operators, on-campus engineering design and technical specifications; appointment and replacement of school principals and faculty; amendments to education permits; student registration; extra-curricular activities; counselling; social, media and psychological services; fund-raising activities and receiving donations; setting and adjusting tuition fees and offering tuition discounts; setting the academic calendar; amendments or adjustments to the curriculum; setting an ethics and professionalism charter; and changing school name, address, buildings or facilities.
The resolution prohibits any interference in the school’s affairs from any party other than the operator or the principal.
This resolution is valid from the date it is published in the Official Gazette. All private schools in Dubai must adhere to the articles of this resolution within one year.
Some of the powers KHDA will have:
– Facilitate integration of special needs students
– Set standards for quality education
– Receive and investigate complaints
– Issue permits and licenses for private schools
– Manage a database of private schools
– Forecast and plan Dubai’s educational needs
– Inspect schools and ensure compliance
– Levy penalties in case of violations
– Determine location and academic plan for new schools