The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has released the results of a ground-breaking survey on parents’ attitudes towards schools and education in Abu Dhabi.
The ‘Parent View’ survey distributed last academic year was designed to allow parents to give their views about their child’s school in Abu Dhabi. The survey had a huge response: more than 53,780 parents of children attending public and private schools in the Emirate seized the opportunity to express their opinion, which exceeded the expectation of ADEC’s Research and Planning Division.
The survey featured a total of 70 questions that covered a range of issues important to parents and schools, such as whether parents were considering transferring their child from their current school; the hours the child spends studying at home; if the child has certain special needs; the level of support the child receives at school; quality of teachers and teaching; the child’s satisfaction with the school; student behavior; how the school deals with behavior and bullying; the quality of school leadership; the level of care given to students; the level of homework set; level and type of communication with the school; the welcoming atmosphere in the school; school facilities and the environment; school cafeteria and health clinic facilities; time of travel to the school; perception of student learning and achievement; parent overall satisfaction with the school, and a final question on whether or not a parent would recommend the school to others.
Other issues included perception of the length of school days, level and adequacy of local culture and heritage coverage, extent of relying on private tutoring in certain subjects, level and variety of extracurricular activities in the school, and open-ended questions given to parents to comment on areas of interest to them.
Her Excellency Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, the Director General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council noted that parents are increasing their level of involvement in school matters through participating in similar surveys. She stressed that as children mature into adolescence, family involvement in their learning remains important. Such involvement has been found to have a positive impact on school students’ academic achievement, school attendance, and graduation and college matriculation rates.
Abu Dhabi Education Council’s Director General added: “Despite its importance, it’s been proven that a families’ active involvement in their children’s education declines as they progress from kindergarten to elementary school to middle and high school in Abu Dhabi and the rest of the world. Research suggests however, that a school can play a pivotal role in reversing that trend through developing comprehensive partnership programs.”
More than 12,000 open ended comments were received on top of all the questions and issues covered by the survey, which displays willingness and enthusiasm from parents.
Dr. Al Qubaisi referred to these extra comments as a responsibility on education authorities and school decision makers to deliver “above average expectations” adding that the information gleaned from such surveys actively contributes to school assessment projects.
Professor Masood Badri, Head of Research and Planning at the Abu Dhabi Education Council highlighted the fact that the views of parents’ play a pivotal role in shaping the educational sector to meet up to all expectations.
“Publicizing these results will be helpful for school inspectors, parents, and members of the public in general. This initiative has resulted in receiving the highest number of parental engagement ever, which shows that we are doing something right to help involve parents in their child’s educational process,” said Professor Badri.
Parents and members of the public can access results of the Parent Survey for any school in Abu Dhabi through Abu Dhabi Education Council’s portal (www.adec.ac.ae).
The research link which consists of the appropriate school report can be accessed on the following link in both English and Arabic: (http://www.adec.ac.ae/en/researchdevelopment/pages/schoolssatisfactionreports.aspx).
“We encourage schools to link their own school homepage or their school link to the above mentioned link,” said Professor Badri, adding that “gathering a parent’s view is a good starting point for both authorities and schools, who will take note of the different opinions and suggestions expressed.”
“We will use this fruitful feedback to ask for more in-depth information which can make all the difference to schools. Without parental feedback you run the risk of missing the first signs of potential problems and alienating the very people who matter the most,” concluded Professor Badri.