FAQs about Dubai Student Wellbeing Census

What is the purpose of the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census?

To provide the government and schools with information to support improving and maintaining students’ health, happiness, wellbeing and their relationships. As a long term initiative, its aim is to encourage schools to focus on student wellbeing and demonstrate improvement in student wellbeing over time in our schools.

Who completes the Census?

All students in Grades 6 - 12 (Years 7 - 13) at private schools in Dubai are invited to participate in the Census. Some students in Years 5 and 6 at UK curriculum schools will also be targeted. Students can choose to take the Census in either Arabic, English or French.

When and how do students complete the Census?

This year, the fifth year, the Census will run from October 31 to November 30, 2021. Students complete the Census during school hours either in their physical classrooms / IT labs (at the school) or at home if the student is distance learning. The same health and safety protocols that apply to in-person learning also apply to the administration of the Census.

When did the first Census take place?

The first Dubai Student Wellbeing Census took place in November-December 2017. A trial of the Census was conducted in May 2017 to ensure that the questions were appropriate for the local UAE context.

How can I support my child who is participating in the Census virtually from home?

It is important that your child has a quiet space for around 30 minutes to be able to complete the Census uninterrupted. In most cases, particularly with younger children, their school teacher will administer the Census during an online class lesson to oversee the process and answer any questions they may have. It is important that children respond to the Census truthfully. Parents are encouraged to discuss with their child how the Census made them feel and how their wellbeing could be better supported.

How can teachers support students who are participating in the Census virtually from home?

Schools that have students completing the Census remotely are encouraged to hold virtual class sessions for students to complete the Census under the guidance of teachers. Particularly with younger children, it is crucial that teachers will be online to oversee the process and answer any questions students may have.

Is there a reason to choose November-December as the timing for the Census?

The Census is conducted at this time of the year to avoid most major examination and holiday periods. Schools are given a five week period to allow them to plan for students to complete the census at a convenient time. The fixed time period also provides a measure of consistency across schools.

How many more years will the Census be conducted?

This year (2021) is the last year of the five-year partnership with the South Australian government which commenced in 2017 to provide the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census.

Where can I access the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census? How long will it take to complete the Census?

The Dubai Student Wellbeing Census is completed online. All participating schools will receive a link that will be sent out together with unique student ‘log in’ tokens. Students will be asked to complete the Census during school time in the presence of their teacher/survey administrator. It typically takes between 25-45 minutes for students to complete the Census. The Census is not a test, there are no right or wrong answers.

What does the Census ask?

The Census asks all students about their:
  1. Social and emotional wellbeing
  2. Relationships and learning in school and at home
  3. Physical health, lifestyle and after school activities
Some example statements for students to agree/disagree with:
I feel happy I worry about things
I keep at my schoolwork until I am finished The things in my life are excellent
I am a hard worker People care about each other in this school
I get along well with most of my teachers I feel safe at school

Older students (grade 10-12) will be asked some additional questions. The Census also asks these students about their:
  1. Social and emotional wellbeing/happiness (for example resilience, hope)
  2. Learning practices
  3. Future aspirations and goals
Some example statements for older students to agree/disagree with:
I actively pursue my goals I can get myself to do schoolwork
Even when others get discouraged, I know I can find a way to solve a problem I tend to bounce back quickly after hard times
I have a strong need to strive for excellence I can think of many ways to get the things in life that are important to me

What if a parent doesn’t want their child to take part in the Census or if a student doesn’t wish to take the Census?

There are three ways that a student or parent can opt out of the Census:
  1. A letter will be sent home from the school to parents of children participating in the Census. Parents can talk with their child’s class teacher if they do not want their child to take part in the Census.
  2. Students will be asked if they would like to take part. Even if students begin the Census, they can withdraw at any time.
  3. Students can opt out of answering any question they do not feel comfortable answering while completing with the Census.

What happens if a student needs help after finishing the Census?

Students are asked if the Census questions have made them think of problems they are having. For example, if students are having problems with other students, they are advised to share these issues with their parents, other family members or a teacher/counsellor at their school. Most schools also have a support counselor/wellbeing leader who is available for the students should they need help.

How will the information be kept confidential?

Student responses to the Census questions will remain confidential to protect all participants. Any information that could identify a student, such as the student’s name, are kept separate from the responses given in the Census. Student results will be grouped so as schools will be unable to view individual responses.

Why does the Census ask questions about the home environment?

The wellbeing of each student is a combination of how they feel about themselves, their home, school and community lives. The results of the first year of the Census identified that good sleep patterns and regularly eating breakfast are two factors that are more likely to be present in happier students. Schools, parents and students themselves all have a role to play in supporting the wellbeing of students in Dubai.

When and how do schools receive their student Wellbeing Census results?

Census results for 2017 – 2019 have already been provided to schools in a PDF format. However, in 2020, results were published using an electronic platform. This change allowed schools to have a much more interactive experience with the data. On the platform they can filter, analyse, and identify trends in their data. It also allows schools to provide customised reports based on different users at the school.

Will individual student data be shared with schools or parents?

Survey results can be used to identify areas to improve student learning about wellbeing in Dubai schools. The Dubai Student Wellbeing Census is designed to measure large groups of students and not to generate reports on individual students.

Although individual students complete the Census, the questions in the Census are not validated for individual diagnosis or assessment of children.

Student responses will be combined with responses from those of others in the same school to enable schools, communities and governments to assess the needs of all students. Schools receive a report summarising results for each grade level of students.

Students are assured that their responses will be kept private and confidential before they commence the Census.

Can parents get access to the results upon request?

An overview of the results of students is provided to schools in February and KHDA encourages schools to share their results with parents and students.

How will KHDA use the results from my school? Will they be published?

Results from the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census will contribute to the ongoing conversations KHDA has with schools to further improve overall student wellbeing and to help provide insights into the school environment. Only aggregate Dubai level data will be published.

Will the Census results be used as part of school inspections?

The students’ personal and social development, as well as the care and support that schools provide to students, currently form key components of the performance standards in the national school inspection framework. Schools are encouraged to use the results from the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census as part of their self-evaluation process. Inspectors will have access to each school’s report and will reflect on what schools are doing to improve student wellbeing during school inspections.

How can schools use the Census results?

Census results can be used to identify areas to improve student learning and wellbeing in schools in Dubai.

For example:
  1. Prioritise additional support or learning programmes
  2. Determine where to allocate existing resources
  3. Set priorities, plans and goals in schools

Where can I get more information?

For further questions or concerns, please email wellbeingcensus@khda.gov.ae or call 043640000.
Page last updated 22 November 2021
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