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The Philippine Global School, Hadbat Al Zaafran, Al Muroor

The Philippine Global School, Hadbat Al Zaafran, Al Muroor

by April 3, 2016

Updated December 2016

The Philippine Global School [PGS] opened in September 2015, taking over the buildings, many staff and students of the 21st Century Academy School which was placed in special measures and closed by ADEC. The school offers an FS to Grade 10 Philippine education, although this is not underwritten or certified by any external body and Philippine amounts in real terms to no more than the the cultural context of the school.

The 21st Century School (originally named the Philippine Academy Abu Dhabi) had opened in September 2010 in the 30 years-old buildings of the old government 6th August, 800-capacity, boys school.

When the 21st Century school opened it started with a capacity of 1300 children, partially because it needed to take up pupils from the Pioneers International Private School, a Philippine school itself closed as part of ADECs Villa schools closure programme.

By 2015, an originally 800 capacity school site had seen the role rise to 2055 children in a building that was only ever envisaged as an emergency solution. The original agreement was for the school to have been completely rebuilt by 2013.

The new owners face all the same issues of a school that needs completely re-building:

  • The school’s toilets are poorly maintained. They are a health hazard for those who use them regularly.
  • Buildings “only just” accommodate the number of students.
  • Most classrooms lack the basic equipment and resources to enable teachers to deliver the curriculum.
  • The library and many classrooms are far too small. Most KG classrooms are too small. Many others are too cramped for students and teachers to move around easily.
  • There are major shortages of resources across the curriculum and this restricts learning. The quantity and quality of resources of all kinds are very unsatisfactory.
  • Where there are air conditioners, they are noisy, making it hard for students and teachers to hear each other.
  • There is only one computer room, and one science laboratory. The single laboratory is insufficient to deliver the full science curriculum.
  • There are no specialist rooms for art or music and no available space to provide them
  • There is no adequate indoor sports facility: the auditorium is far from appropriate, and the carpeted floor is potentially hazardous.
  • There are limited shaded areas outside and the surfaces are unsuitable for sports.
  • The outdoor play area for KG is limited and is of poor quality.
  • The school lacks specialist equipment for science, IT, physical education, sport, music and art.
  • The ratio of computers to students is very low.
  • There is virtually no PE equipment, and the school is reliant on students providing their own.
  • There are insufficient books in the library to aid learning and develop reading skill
  • The small quantities of equipment in the science laboratory do not adequately support learning.
  • The library is too small and the stock of books is inadequate.
  • The buildings are poorly maintained.
  • There is rubble in the courtyard and under stairwells.
  • Uneven paving across the whole school presents hazards.
  • Chemicals in the science laboratory are not secure and hanging leads from ovens in the technology room are a potential danger.
  • Several KG teachers lack the qualifications and expertise required to teach young children successfully. Some teachers in the KG and lower grades are insufficiently proficient in English.
  • Leadership and management are unsatisfactory because they have exerted only very limited influence in improving teaching, learning, accommodation and resources.
  • The school has made little progress since the last inspection. No substantial advances have been made and the main areas for improvement remain as they were 18 months ago.
  • There are now considerably more children in the KG. The education it provides is very unsatisfactory, partly because the accommodation remains inadequate.
  • There has been no improvement in the quantity or quality of resources available to teachers.
  • Health and safety concerns associated with the very unsatisfactory condition of the premises remain.

It is more than arguable that Philippine education in Abu Dhabi is facing a serious challenge. There are only three schools currently open in Abu Dhabi for parents seeking a Filipino education for their child(ren) :

  • This, The Philippine Global School [PGS]
  • Philippine Emirates Private School [PEPS]
  • The Philippine School Abu Dhabi [TPS]

All three schools are rated “unsatisfactory” and given the C6 Grade that have historically resulted in schools closing.


PEPS is a new-build school at least, but this has made marginal difference as facilities are not, for ADEC, of a sufficient standard or breadth to properly educate children.

TPS, like PGS, occupies an old government building provided by ADEC very much as a last resort that requires re-building.

ADEC is doing all it can to protect extremely vulnerable children but serious, committed investors are required in this sector above all others.

It is real shame that none of the current premium providers have felt themselves able to step in, this in no small part because the Philippine sector fee structure, is not able to support the capital investment and ongoing running costs of a functional school.

To add to already limited options, the new owners of The Philippine Global School also run TPS.

To be fair to them, for both of its schools in Abu Dhabi, these are early days. But the children at these schools do not have any more time.

To understand the new owners’ capabilities, it is helpful to look at the Philippine School Dubai, the owners single established school.

Opened in 2008, the school has consistently managed only an “Acceptable” rating over its 5 years. An “Acceptable” rating in Dubai is the lowest possible rating awarded by KHDA Inspectors before a school is placed in special measures. In its last report Dubai Inspectors noted:

“The premises and learning environment were unsatisfactory in many cases. Too many rooms were small and overcrowded. Learning environments were often uninteresting and inappropriate for the subjects being learned, which impacted on the progress students were able to make in their learning. The quality and range of resources for effective teaching and learning remained unsatisfactory. Many teachers made their own teaching resources and many students brought resources from home. The school was significantly under-resourced in many subjects in all three phases of the school.”

As it stands, whilst it is early days, it actually makes little difference what our view is of The Philippine Global School [PGS]. Parents of its children, and prospective parents of children seeking a Philippine education simply have no choice.

As it stands, all roads lead to an unsatisfactory education for parents of children committed to a Philippine education in Abu Dhabi.

In this case parents face an option offering desperately under-resourced schooling in a building operating at over 250% of its maximum capacity and requiring demolition.

One potential option is for the Philippine Embassy to make an intervention and work with ADEC. ADEC has proven itself very open to assisting governments. No better example is found than with the German International School in Abu Dhabi here.

Until this, or some other solution is found, we find ourselves in the very uncomfortable and depressing position of not being able to recommend a school, any school, but knowing that prospective parents will count themselves very lucky if they can even secure a place.

Prospective parents should note that whilst we have provided only limited scoring data given new ownership, the school’s buildings and facilities are not currently able to support a satisfactory level of education for children and the school cannot be recommended.

Go to the FULL REVIEW on

Details to consider
Type of school

Private, for profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 4,000
FS2: 4,000
YEAR 1: 4,900
YEAR 2: 4,900
YEAR 3: 4,900
YEAR 4: 5,200
YEAR 5: 5,200
YEAR 6: 5,200
YEAR 7: 6,400
YEAR 8: 6,400
YEAR 9: 6,400
YEAR 10: 6,400



External Exam Boards


Waiting list

Not published

Value Added

Not published (whichschooladvisor projected LOW)

Number of Students


Teacher to Student Ratio

Not published

Largest nationality teachers


Teacher turnover

Not published

Year opened



Hadbat Al Zaafran, Al Muroor, Abu Dhabi

Student composition

Filipino: 100%
Boys: 51%
Girls: 49%
Christian: 97%
Muslim: 2%
Kindergarten (KG): 478
Elementary Department (grades 1‐6): 1069
High School Department (grades 7‐10): 508
Special Educational Needs [SEN]: 13
Physical Disability: 1



School canteen

Not published


Leticia M. Maniaul

Admissions Telephone

Not published
(1) Suggest contact through sister The Philippine School Abu Dhabi [TPS] +971 (0)2 583 1044

Web Address

Not published

Attainment Nur SEM

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Attainment Pri SEM

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Attainment Sec SEM

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Attainment Post-16 SEM


Progress Nur SEM

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Progress Pri SEM

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Progress Sec SEM

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Progress Post-16 SEM


Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)


Arabic Secondary Results (Native)


Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)


Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)


Islamic St. Primary Results

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Islamic St. Secondary Results

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

Review forthcoming 2016-17


Review forthcoming 2016-17


Review forthcoming 2016-17



Quality of teaching

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Student personal responsibility

Review forthcoming 2016-17

Quality of curriculum

Review forthcoming 2016-17

School Governance

Review forthcoming 2016-17

SEN Provision

Review forthcoming 2016-17


• Affordable fees
• Committed children who deserve a quality education


• Wholly unsatisfactory school infrastructure unable to support an acceptable level of educational provision
• Overcrowding
• Potentially hazardous school environment
• Buildings requiring demolition
• Owners unable to bring existing established school to the required standard necessary to educate children to a good standard or higher
• Lack of any published school information by the new owners

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• Philippine education in Abu Dhabi requires urgent intervention. Until that happens children at Philippine schools face seriously compromised educational provsion.

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About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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