On 30 August 2017, Ministerial Resolution 619 of 2017 with respect to the Management of Student Behaviours and Conduct in Education Institutions was published (the Ministerial Resolution). Whilst its practical impact is still unknown, this legal update sets out the key provisions of the Ministerial Resolution.

Who does it apply to?

  • Both public and private education institutions in the UAE from grades 4 to 12.
  • Students, their parents, many employees of education institutions (including teachers, safety officers, deputy headmasters and headmasters) and various committees, councils and authorities are stated to have responsibilities under the Ministerial Resolution.

What are its aims?

  • The Ministerial Resolution's stated objectives include the building of positive student behaviour, ensuring that those involved in the education sector are aware of their roles and responsibilities and providing a regulatory framework for managing student behaviour.

How does it set out to achieve those aims?

Students are to be allocated a behaviour mark (of up to 100) comprised of:

  • Their distinguished behaviour – which includes personal development, respect for Islamic values and social responsibility. Students may be granted up to 20 points where they meet the specified criteria for distinguished behaviour.
  • Their positive behaviour – students will start with a total of 80 points, which may be deducted where the student commits one or more of the violations specified.

Violations are categorised by seriousness and include, for example:

  • Leaving the classroom without permission – first degree penalty (4 points)
  • Verbal abuse or smoking on school campus – second degree penalty (8 points)
  • Defamation of school staff using social media or sexual harassment – third degree penalty (12 points)
  • Promoting extremism or causing a fire in school – forth degree penalty (20 points)

Students are expected to score at least 60% as an overall grade for behaviour, failing which the student will not obtain his end of year transcript and his case will be raised the school's behavioural committee to review and undertake the necessary actions.

A process is outlined for dealing with violations which (save for forth degree violations, which require immediate attention) involves an escalating process, for each repetition of the violation.

What do education institutions need to do to comply with the Ministerial Resolution?

Education institutions will need to take a number of steps, both administratively and in terms of disseminating information to students, parents and staff, in order to comply with the Ministerial Resolution. By way of non-exhaustive example:

  • Implement systems for monitoring and recording student behaviour marks
  • Ensure that all employees are aware of their responsibilities under the Ministerial Resolution. Headmasters are, for example, responsible for ensuring that:
  1. Staff are aware of the new Ministerial Resolution and their responsibilities under it
  2. Students and parents are aware of the Ministerial Resolution
  3. A Behaviour Management Committee is formed
  4. A suitable professional development and training plan is in place for teaching staff relating to the implementation of the Ministerial Resolution
  5. An effective system for the management of positive and distinguished behaviour is established
  • Require parents to sign the Parent's Charter at the beginning of each academic year and require both parents and students to sign an undertaking in the form required
  • Ensure that internal processes and procedures relating to student performance and remedial action are updated to comply with the Ministerial Resolution

Summary

The Ministerial Resolution does not prescribe any specific penalties for failing to comply with its terms. Given its recent introduction, the impact of the Ministerial Resolution in practice and the extent to which it is proactively implemented and enforced remains to be seen.