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37m people use RTA services during Expo 2020 Dubai

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As many as 37.3 million people used Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) services during Expo 2020 Dubai, recent statistics indicate.

This is a whopping 67 per cent of the total usage of transport services at Expo. A total of 26.3 million people travelled by public transport — Dubai Metro, public buses, taxis and e-hail rides.

RTA’s transit modes served 37 per cent of Expo visitors and about 11 million motorists used RTA’s parking slots during Expo, said Mattar Al Tayer, director-general, chairman of the board of executive directors of RTA.

“The integrated infrastructure of road and transportation networks, as well as the master mobility plan developed by RTA in cooperation with strategic partners, was instrumental in facilitating the movement of residents and visitors from Dubai and other emirates to Expo 2020,” Al Tayer pointed out.

Dubai Metro carried 8.2 million riders and covered more than 5.7 million km during the Expo from October 1, 2021 till March 31, 2022.

Public buses transported 15.5 million people, covering over 7.3 million km.

There were four types of bus services, including the Expo Rider Intercity had 1 million riders; Expo Rider Dubai had 1.4 million riders. Parking Shuttles to the three Expo 2020 Dubai gates clocked 10.2 million riders; and People Mover buses between gates had 2.8 million riders.

Taxi and e-hail ride services, like Careem and Uber, carried 2.5 million riders, said Al Tayer.

“RTA managed more than 29,000 parking slots at the site of Expo at several zones,” he added. “A total of 11 million people used RTA’s parking services.”

RTA used sophisticated technology to manage parking to ensure a safe and smooth flow of vehicles to and from the parking lots. It included the use of smart messaging signs and the management of parking through a smart system connected to the traffic movement control centre to identify the vacant parking slots at the site. The Call Centre received more than 30,000 calls, and customers’ satisfaction rating exceeded 92 per cent.

RTA has constructed integrated infrastructure to serve Expo 2020 Dubai, costing over Dh15 billion. High on the list is Route 2020, a 15-km extension of the Dubai Metro, connecting seven stations served by newly procured 50 trains.

RTA constructed a wide roads network comprising 138 lane-kilometre and nine flyovers, in addition to deploying more than 200 public buses featuring the highest international specifications. It provided 18 stations and bus stops in Dubai and key cities across the UAE, besides providing more than 15,000 taxis and limousines.

RTA managed more than 29,000 parking spaces at the site of Expo, and employed smart technologies, applications and artificial intelligence to facilitate the movement of Expo visitors via metro, buses and taxis.

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UAE cuts Friday sermon to 10 minutes until end of summer

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The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments said that the decision is aimed at ensuring the safety of worshippers during the summer months.The directive is applicable from Friday, June 28, until the start of October.

According to the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology, summer temperatures in the Gulf country frequently exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), with some areas experiencing highs of up to 50 C (122 F).

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No KHDA inspection for Dubai school next year: Would it impact rating and fees?

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Private schools in Dubai will not be subject to comprehensive inspections throughout the 2024-25 academic year, as per a new directive from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). The only exception to this policy applies to newly established schools that are entering their third year of operations during the upcoming academic year. This recent decision was communicated to all Dubai schools via a circular issued by the KHDA. The authority aims to streamline the inspection process, focusing on institutions at a critical stage of their development while temporarily relieving more established schools from the full inspection regimen.

The KHDA circular reads, “We would also like to inform you of an important update to school inspections during the 2024-25 academic year. Full school inspections will not be conducted across all private schools in Dubai, except for new private schools that will be in their third year of operation during the academic year.”

However, schools may request a comprehensive inspection from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB). Such requests will be reviewed and approved at the discretion of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Schools are required to submit their requests by July 5, 2024. The KHDA issued, “Schools with approved requests will be notified during Term 2 of the 2024-25 academic year.”

Dubai schools traditionally undergo annual inspections, during which they are evaluated and assigned ratings. However, these inspections were suspended during the pandemic. The ratings, which span from ‘Outstanding’ to ‘Weak’, are determined based on a defined set of criteria.

What is the current status of the ongoing inspection of schools under the KHDA?

The latest circular also mentions, “DSIB will conduct other visits that target specific focus areas and include ongoing monitoring activities. Schools will be notified ahead of time on the areas of focus and priorities for the next academic year.”

All schools are required to regularly update their ‘Self-Evaluation Form’ and online school profile over the course of the next academic year. It is imperative for schools to ensure that all necessary information is readily available for review by DSIB. Additionally, schools must consistently administer all critical external benchmark assessments.

Belrehif stated, “The School Self-Evaluation Form is an essential part of schools’ ongoing cycle of review and improvement planning and helps them measure how well they are doing in different performance indicators outlined in the UAE School Inspection Framework.”

Impact on School Rankings and Fees

The ability of schools to increase their fees is contingent upon their most recent evaluation by the DSIB. Schools that receive higher ratings are typically allowed to impose more substantial fee hikes. In April 2024, the KHDA introduced an Education Cost Index (ECI) set at 2.6 percent which would enable schools to modify their tuition fees for the 2024-25 academic year accordingly. The private schools in Dubai had been granted permission to raise tuition fees by up to 5.2 percent, as determined by their latest KHDA inspection outcomes.

In a recent interview, Fatma Belrehif,  DSIB CEO, announced, “The School Fees Framework is the mechanism by which schools can adjust their fees annually. The rate by which schools can adjust their fees is tied to each school’s most recent inspection rating. Any fee adjustment by schools must be approved by the KHDA. Schools will be notified in case of any changes or updates to the fee framework.”

How does this circular affect schools and parents?

Schools: Schools may need to adapt their internal quality assurance processes, relying more on self-evaluation and external feedback to maintain and improve standards.

  • Strategic Planning: With the absence of formal inspections, schools might focus on alternative ways to attract and retain students, such as enhancing their curriculum, extracurricular offerings, or investing in teacher development.
  • Performance Monitoring: Schools will need to find new methods to monitor and report their performance, potentially increasing collaboration with parent-teacher associations and using third-party evaluators.

Parents: Guardians and Parents may find it more challenging to assess the quality and performance of schools without the KHDA’s annual inspection reports. They might need to rely on word-of-mouth, online reviews, and direct engagement with schools to make informed decisions.

  • Engagement and Feedback: The halt in inspections could encourage more proactive engagement between parents and schools. Parents may need to take a more active role in communicating their expectations and concerns to ensure their child’s educational needs are met.
  • Financial Considerations: With the potential stability in school fees, parents might experience a degree of financial predictability. However, they should stay informed about any changes schools might implement to maintain quality in the absence of inspections.

As the educational community awaits further details and guidance from the KHDA, stakeholders are keenly observing how this decision will shape educational practices and policies in Dubai for the upcoming academic year.

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Sheikh Mohammed approves massive Dh30 billion rainwater drainage project for Dubai

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An integrated project to develop a rain drainage network in Dubai has been approved at a cost of Dh30-billion, announced Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday.

Named ‘Tasreef’, the project will enhance the capacity of Dubai’s rainwater drainage system by 700%, covering all areas of the emirate.

The project is set to be completed by 2033 with construction to start immediately. It will serve Dubai for the next hundred years, added Sheikh Mohammed.

The project, which will cover all areas of Dubai and absorb more than 20 million cubic meters of water per day, is likely to be the largest such network to collect rainwater in the region.

‘Tasreef’ is a continuation of drainage projects launched by Dubai in 2019, covering the Expo Dubai area, Al Maktoum International Airport City, and Jebel Ali.

It comes around two months after unprecedented rains flooded the UAE. As a sustainable strategic project, it aims at addressing future climate change impacts, such as increased rainfall, with a network designed to seamlessly adapt to all rainfall events.

The project will utilise the latest Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM), the largest of their kind in the Middle East, known for their efficiency, speed, and high precision in excavation, and their ability to handle various topographical conditions.

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