Abu Dhabi: The school management organisation Ta'aleem was established three years ago to encourage students in American schools, in the International Baccalaureate (IB) stream and international schools to strengthen their Arabic language skills.
Ta'aleem means education in Arabic.
The organisation recruits international teachers who are familiar with the UAE culture and bilingual teachers who can present an Arabic international curriculum in a creative and engaging manner.
"We recruited teachers who are capable of delivering their message in an open-minded, friendly manner in both English and Arabic," says Nemeh Hussain, an education consultant for Arabic staff working under Ta'aleem.
There are currently 45 teachers who Ta'aleem and the Ministry of Education have invested in. Their salaries range from Dh15,000 to Dh18,000. These teachers have strong leadership skills, which are further strengthened through ongoing workshops and conferences.
The material taught by the teachers is assessed by Ta'aleem, who make sure there are no loop-holes in the system.
"We will continue to recruit only the best international teachers who are capable of delivering our international curricula in a creative and engaging manner. It is the skills and dedication of our teachers that have brought us such a strong reputation so quickly and that will form the cornerstone of our future success," said Ziad Azam, CEO of Ta'aleem.
Ta'aleem currently operates six international schools across the UAE, namely: Al Mizhar American Academy for Girls, the Children's Garden, Dubai British School, Greenfield Community School, Uptown School, Raha International School (Abu Dhabi) and in September 2008 will open Uptown High School.
With the ministry's recent decision to introduce a mandatory Arabic language exam across schools and universities, known as the DHAD-certificate, (an examination equivalent to the English as a Foreign Language exam, TOEFL), Ta'aleem have a lot to look forward to.
"I see the decision to introduce a mandatory Arabic exam as a positive and challenging step for Ta'aleem. It will help us learn more about the standard of Arabic among students through their scores. The decision to test the certificate through only two schools and one university is a wise one. Anything new should be pilot studied first," Hussain said.
Ta'aleem was initiated to encourage students to enjoy studying social studies and Islam in Arabic.
"The UAE is an Arab Islamic community and Arabic should have been on the top of any schools list a long time ago. Now we are providing proper learning resources with proper visuals and books through professional, fun-loving teachers who make sure the language is enjoyable to learn. The overall educational system in Arabic has changed."
Each of Ta'aleem's schools has a different curriculum that best suits its students.
"We give the schools freedom to chose their curriculum. What's amazing is that 45 teachers from different schools across the UAE share resources and recommendations among one another, even though the curricula may not be similar."
A cultural awareness workshop will take place before the new academic year, on August 25 for teachers, followed by a similar workshop for parents.
"The workshop will cover topics such as: the UAE's culture and traditions, Ramadan and what should and shouldn't be done," Hussain said.