Dubai’s education sector to adopt best practices: Kalthoom Al Balooshi

“There were different periods of renaissance in Dubai. The first one was in 1985 and the second one in 2006. We have gone through a journey of transformations in different sectors. But let me give you the details about the education sector during the second renaissance,” said Kalthoom AlBalooshi, Executive Director of Education Development, KHDA, Dubai, during the 11th World Education Summit Dubai.

Kalthoom AlBalooshi, Executive Director of Education Development, KHDA, Dubai
Kalthoom AlBalooshi, Executive Director of Education Development, KHDA, Dubai

Explaining the purpose behind creation of KHDA, she said, “The Dubai government has created the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai (KHDA). The purpose of the KHDA was to create an education sector to serve the people of Dubai and to support the economic growth of the city.”

“But in 2006, the picture of education landscape was very different. There were only 136 private schools though different curriculums but very limited options. There was a huge waiting list at that point of time. There was no approach to ensure the quality of the education. There was no transparency in the sector,” she added.

Providing a picture of education landscape of Dubai in 2006 and the achievements in 2017, Balooshi said, “The parents and students have no choice, they used to choose the schools where their friends are studying. KHDA always focuses on the quality of the education. So, incentivising good quality and ensuring transparency are the two key components of KHDA. From 2006 – the second period of renaissance to 2017, we have 194 private schools, 17 different curriculums, 200 different nationalities, around 3,00,000 of students studying in different schools of Dubai.”

She said, “In 2006 we used talk about the fixed fee of schools but now we are talking about discounts, founder fee, packages, so the market has changed a lot. Earlier, the schools were located in specific areas but now the schools are in different parts of Dubai, the New Dubai, the Old Dubai and the areas where people are living.”

She referred 2017 as new period of renaissance and said, “After 2006, 2017 will be the new period of renaissance for education sector in Dubai. The new education landscape will be full of innovative ideas; it will be about following new practices in the market. We will emphasise more on happiness.”

Telling about the new models of schools in Dubai, Balooshi added, “Earlier, students of Dubai used to go to schools in different countries where the best teaching-learning practices and the unique curriculum is followed. But now, such schools are next to your house. This one model of schools followed in Dubai’s education landscape.”

“The next types of schools we are talking about are the ones which will address the future needs of the market. These schools will focus on human side of every student, their happiness and the skills required in different industries,” she added

According to her, World Education Summit is the platform to showcase the transformation of Dubai’s education space and also the huge opportunities available here such as the new areas of learning, new curriculum, happiness in the classrooms, so there lot of options for schools to thrive and grow in this city.

About expansion in future, she said, “Another thing we are focussing on is that to succeed in the future, we need to collaborate, we need to work together. Explaining about the collaboration, she gave the examples of trees having very deep roots and at the same time roots of one tree are connected with their neighbouring trees which help to withstand in any natural disaster.”

She explained about “What Works” adding, “It actually is a platform where leaders from different backgrounds and school curricula discuss and borrow ideas from each other.”

She said, “For us to thrive in the future we have to collaborate, it can’t be done by oneself.”