Abu Dhabi's education regulators has launched an annual school ratings system to provide parents with a comprehensive view of the quality of national identity programs and related activities in private schools across the emirate.

The National Identity Mark, which is the first of its kind, aims to enhance the Emirati students' understanding of UAE's values, customs, and traditions, providing them with a robust foundation to navigate the global landscape.

Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge's (Adek) goal with this initiative is to promote transparency in the schools' performance and empower parents to choose the right school environment for their children, aligning with its commitment to enhancing school transparency.

"We recognise the importance of cultivating a robust national identity that anchors our Emirati students in their culture. The launch of the National Identity Mark and inspection framework will provide parents with valuable insights into the quality of national identity programmes within private schools. For many parents, the reinforcement of national identity via education is of critical importance as it helps instil in their children a sense of belonging and pride," Sara Musallam, Minister of State for Early Education, Chairman of the Federal Agency for Early Childhood, and Adek Chairman, said.

The evaluation framework covers three main domains, each with three relevant dimensions: culture, values and citizenship. Culture includes history, heritage and Arabic language, which represents a key focus area within the framework. Values include respect, compassion, and global understanding. Citizenship includes belonging, volunteering, and conservation.

"By strengthening national identity through educational programmes, schools can support students further to appreciate their roots, traditions, and values. The National Identity Mark will increase transparency and accountability while enabling parents to make informed decisions about their children's education. This directly supports the development of well-rounded individuals who are proud of their Emirati identity that is equipped to positively represent Abu Dhabi and the UAE on a global scale."

The National Identity Mark rankings will be evaluated separately from Adek's annual Irtiqa'a Inspection, which covers the performance standards of the Emirate's private schools and provides recommendations for improved performance. With ratings for Phase 1 set to be announced at the end of the current academic year, schools will be ranked as 'outstanding', 'good', 'acceptable', or 'weak' based on the quality of their national identity programmes.

Implementation of the new rating system will assess curricula and school culture to help ensure educational equity, transparency, and accountability across all Abu Dhabi private schools that have nationals enrolled, in addition to giving schools the opportunity to enhance further and develop their national identity programmes.

Adek will prioritise schools with the highest number of Emirati students in the first phase. Schools without national enrolment can request an evaluation if they have relevant programmes and activities that immerse expatriate students in the country's rich heritage.

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