The Dubai schools board should reduce the number of inspections it does on high-performing schools to focus on the weaker ones, according to a World Bank report.

The report was commissioned by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) itself to assess its progress on its fifth anniversary.

Almost nine in 10 children (88 percent) are in Dubai’s 169 private schools, learning one of 16 curricula.

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The number of schools rated good or outstanding has risen from 33 to 51 percent in the last five years and 23,000 new places have become available in the last year alone at 11 new schools.

Simon Thacker, World Bank Education Specialist and the report’s principal author, said: “Maybe schools that are receiving an outstanding rating should not be inspected every year, to focus on schools that are weaker.”

He also suggested breaking the four existing categories (outstanding, good, acceptable, unsatisfactory) down further – for example, ‘low good’, ‘high good’. ADEC already does this for Abu Dhabi schools.

Mr Thacker added that linking the rating system to fees may actually act as a disincentive for schools that have “failed to progress over several years”, although it could be “an incentive for schools that are near the cut-off for a higher rating”.

He pointed out that there are outstanding schools in the “less expensive” category that show “it can be done”.

He said the governance created “perfect transparency”. The report said: “KHDA’s approach represents a new best practice, a solid model worth replicating in other private education markets.”

The report, The Road Travelled: Dubai’s journey towards improving private education, is available at the World Bank site in English and Arabic.