In line with its ongoing commitment to boost school transparency and empower parents to select the ideal school environments for their children, Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has launched the UAE’s first National Identity Mark – an annual school ratings system designed to provide parents with full visibility on the quality of national identity programmes and related activities in private schools across the emirate.
The National Identity Mark aims to heighten Emirati students’ deep-rooted understanding of the UAE’s traditions, customs and values, empowering and enabling them to navigate the diverse global landscape with a strong foundation based in their own cultural background.
The evaluation framework covers three main domains, each with three relevant dimensions: ‘Culture’ includes history, heritage and Arabic language, which represents a key focus area within the framework; ‘Values’ includes respect, compassion, and global understanding; and ‘Citizenship’ includes belonging, volunteering, and conservation.
Her Excellency Sara Musallam, Minister of State for Early Education, Chairman of the Federal Agency for Early Childhood, and ADEK Chairman, said: “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 programs within private schools. For many parents, the reinforcement of national identity via education is of critical importance as it helps instill in their children a sense of belonging and pride.
“By strengthening national identity through educational programmes, schools can support students to further 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 are 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 ratings 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, schools will be given the opportunity to further enhance and develop their national identity programs.
ADEK will prioritise schools with the highest number of Emirati students in the first phase. Schools without national enrolment can request evaluation if they have relevant programmes and activities that immerse expatriate students in the rich heritage of the country.