Wellbeing survey will help schools in Dubai understand kids better: Principals

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on November 21, 2020
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Nearly 100,000 students from Grades 6 to 12 and 20,000 teachers across Dubai’s private schools are expected to take part in the survey.

School heads in Dubai have hailed the ongoing wellbeing survey of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), saying that the resulting data would help them better understand their students’ feelings and emotions amid Covid-19.

The KHDA started its annual wellbeing census for students and teachers on November 1 and it will continue until the end of the month.

Nearly 100,000 students from Grades 6 to 12 and 20,000 teachers across Dubai’s private schools are expected to take part in the survey. This year’s poll will include new questions about the pandemic and its impact on one’s emotional and psychological health.

Schools emphasise that student well-being must be taken into account in today’s educational environment, with an increase in knowledge of disorders that affect pupils with depression, anxiety and eating disorders due to the pandemic.

“This year, students are coping with extraordinary and unique challenges. The ongoing impact of Covid-19 is a real worry in terms of how it affects our students wellbeing. We regularly check student well-being using school surveys and the Dubai Student Wellness census is incredibly important as it deepens and strengthens our understanding of how our students are,” said Mark Bishop, deputy head of secondary at Greenfield International School.

“The census not only shows us how students are feeling in general, but it also gives information about how students are faring at home and in school,” he added.

The census gathers data in several areas that collectively affect a student’s wellbeing. There are questions that would confirm if they find a caring community in their school, or if they feel capable of keeping up with their classwork. Students also answer queries about their physical health, nutrition, and even sleep patterns.

Lisa Johnson, principal of American Academy for Girls, agreed that the goal of the census has never been more crucial than it is in the time of Covid-19. “Students have been expected to navigate the new, mostly online, environments without their normal support networks. This includes academic and social-emotional support structures by school and also their normal peer groups,” she said.


The survey is open to students, including pupils studying through distance, blended and face-to-face learning.

“Each child is given a unique token that allows access to the link shared by the KHDA. Then, the student answers the survery in private either at home or in school,” explained Annie Mathew, principal of Gulf Model School.

Senior students are also polled about their future aspirations and goals after graduation.

“For older students between Grades 10-12, additional questions are added like social and emotional wellbeing/happiness, learning practices, future aspirations and goals,” says Mohammad Ali Kottakkulam, principal of Gulf Indian High School Dubai.

Once the survey is done, reports are shared with schools.

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