Dubai: Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) is now in the league of blue-chip companies like BMW, Bosch and Coca-Cola. It has earned a rare distinction from EFQM (European Foundation Quality Management), a non-profit foundation that measures sustainable excellence.
At a time when school inspections are underway, Dr Abdullah Al Karam, Chairman of KHDA, said that even inspectors had been put to the test. “We needed a reality check. So we approached EFQM, a European quality framework. They assessed us and awarded us five stars, their highest rating. We are the first public organisation and the youngest to earn this distinction in the Middle East,” he said.
He was speaking at a function to launch What Works, a school programme, in its second year, running at Zayed University this week. The EFQM model measures various criteria for excellence, including leadership, strategy, people, processes, services, partnerships and resources, besides results.
Dr Al Karam said: “We were able to achieve this because of the role we play with schools. I want to tell the schools that we exist because of you and have earned the five stars because of you. It’s a way of saying thank you.”
Addressing the gathering earlier, Chris McDermott of the GEMS Jumeirah Primary School urged schools not to dwell on the ratings as much as what lay beneath them. “It’s important that we don’t get hung up on the single word — outstanding, good or acceptable. We should focus on the positive, understand that changes take time and that there will be pressure. But we should never give up.”
Darryl Bloud of the GEMS Modern Academy said the Dubai School Inspection Bureau’s mandate is to ensure a prominent place for the emirate in the world education map. “Inspections are here to stay,” he said.
Anas Bukash, founder of the Ahdaaf Sports Club, urged students to identify their passions and follow their dreams. Many schools at the event shared their success stories in separate sessions later. Joyeeta Bhattacharya of the Indian High School spoke about how her school ensured a safe environment for students. She told XPRESS: “Nothing is more precious than the safety of our children. At IHS, we have introduced several measures like the RF ID card, the first blossoms programme, a well-defined transport policy and zero tolerance towards abuse.”
Tony Clarkson of Dubai English Speaking School discussed the role of parents in the learning process. “Parents’ involvement is key to learning. The values we instil must be supported at home.”
Tracy Skinner of Kings Dubai dwelt on how the school had moved from a 2D curriculum covering knowledge and skills to a 3D curriculum to include concepts.
By Sharmila Dhal, Chief Reporter