Parents and schools celebrate landmark inclusion initiative

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Students of determination in Dubai’s private schools will now have better access to services they require to succeed, in line with new guidelines issued by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on Sunday.

Since the launch of ‘My community initiative’ in 2013 and the implementation of Dubai Disability Strategy 2020, aimed at making the Emirate one of the most disability friendly cities in the world, KHDA has implemented a number of initiatives to ensure that all schools operate inclusive systems of education for students of determination.

Fatma Ibrahim Belrehif, CEO of Dubai School Inspection Bureau at KHDA and the Chair-person of Dubai inclusive education strategic taskforce said “Students of determination are at the heart of our inclusive education policies and we want to make sure schools are putting in place effective practices to make it easier for all students. We share a responsibility to remove all barriers to learning and work towards an inclusive education community that offers equal opportunities for everyone.”

This landmark publication is a critical enabler required to achieve Dubai’s vision to become a disability-friendly city. It builds upon the standards of inclusive education provided to all education providers in 2017 through the release of ‘Dubai inclusive education policy framework’ and further strengthens the good practice guide shared with schools in 2019.

Over time, these publications and related initiatives, including scrutinising the quality of inclusive education within Dubai private schools through the school inspection process, has led to many more students of determination being enrolled within Dubai private schools, a significant increase in the quality of education provided to students of determination and increasing satisfaction of their parents with their experiences at school. However, KHDA is clear that more needs to be done to achieve educational excellence for all.

Fatma explains that, “Our conversations with parents and schools have made us aware of challenges faced by students of determination and these recommendations are aimed at filling gaps in current practices.”

Both schools and parents warmly welcome the introduction of the statutory requirements and enhanced processes that focus upon removing the most significant barriers to inclusion. Some of the most celebrated initiatives include, enhanced admission procedures, with the need to notify KHDA when refusing admissions or re-enrollment, the introduction of a standard service that must be provided by all schools as part of the standard tuition fee and imposing clear conditions for the charging of additional fees to fund additional support for students.

The new publication contains particularly important information for owners, operators and governing board of Dubai private schools.
Mohammed Darwish, CEO of Permits and Compliance at KHDA explains that “these new requirements of schools will be monitored through targeted visits by KHDA. We will work in partnership with schools to ensure their compliance.

Later this year, the rights of students of determination will be further promoted through the release of a dedicated guide for parents, explaining what they can expect schools to provide for their children and how they are able to ensure their right to access appropriate education within Dubai private schools is realised.