Do you want to be a teacher? Think carefully before you answer, because Dubai wants to raise the status of teachers and make the profession the noble calling it has been throughout history.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) took a small but important step towards this goal at the beginning of this year when it launched the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education, or PGDE, course.

The nine-month course is held at the British University in Dubai (BUiD), which is in Dubai Knowledge Village. The first intake of eight students will take up their teaching posts in public schools in Dubai this September.

If they are successful, they will graduate in November.
Now the KHDA is looking for the second intake. This time there are places for 20 people. The course is aimed at graduate male and female Emiratis and graduates from the Arabic-speaking community.

The programme, called Teach in Dubai, offers full scholarships and a qualification which has been developed by Birmingham University in the UK. Tuition fees are paid and students get a monthly stipend. At the end of the course, the successful students are guaranteed three years' teaching in a public school.

Fatma Al Merri, CEO of the Dubai Schools Agency that will place the graduates in schools, said: "We have launched this programme to be a major destination for experienced teachers, and those who have the required qualifications and skills to become effective teachers. We believe that the teacher is a cornerstone in the process of development.

BUiD vice-chancellor Dr Abdullah Al Shamsi said: "The 'Teach in Dubai' programme is an opportunity for graduates to gain a qualification that will offer them excellent employment prospects, career satisfaction and the opportunity to give back to the community."

Martyn Quigley, who runs the course, said: "The programme is consequently very similar in form and of an equivalent standard to a UK PGDE. The generous scholarship offered by KHDA means that anyone who has the talent, initiative and personal qualities to become a successful teacher of English, mathematics or science need look no further.

"The programme is also open to private fee-paying candidates who would not qualify for the KHDA scholarship, and we also hope to offer the programme on a part-time basis in the future."

What graduates say
Teachers, fresh graduates in the fields of mathematics, science and English were among the applicants for the first intake of the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) scholarship programme.
Notes spoke to three of them on how the course is shaping up for them:
Loreine Daou was teaching at the Dubai Centre for Special Needs when she heard about the PGDE programme. She has been teaching since the age of 18 and has a BA in Education.

Daou, who is Lebanese and lives in Dubai, taught in French in Lebanon and said: "This is my first teaching experience in English, and I applied for the course partly to improve my English.

"I don't need teaching methods or classroom management, but I am really improving my English. We get language support in the course.

"If I were responsible for choosing someone to do this course, I would say they should love teaching, love being with students, and really want a career in teaching for themselves."
Daou's children are grown up, and she said: "It can be good to start a career in teaching after you have taken care of your own children. That is something else to think about."

Ghadeer Saleam Naser is 22 and the youngest student doing the PGDE course. She is training to become a science teacher after graduating as a physics major from the Jordanian University in Amman.

Naser was looking for the right job and a suitable master's programme when she heard about Teach in Dubai. Previously, she had not been interested in teaching, but now her passion for it is growing.

She said: "I didn't want to be a conventional teacher with all the old methods. I want to stimulate people and encourage them to think analytically and critically about what they are studying."

Of the PGDE, she said: "They show you what exactly it means to be a teacher. It's not only about teaching your class... it's a process, and it's much more than just class time. It's about methods, techniques, body language, learning patterns for students, and your responsibilities as a member of the teaching staff."
Applying for a PGDE scholarship?

The course has the following streams:
- Science stream – combined science and separate sciences
- Mathematics stream
- English stream
Entry requirements:
To join the programme you must have
- IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score 5.5 /TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) 525
- 2.0 GPA (Grade Point Average) or above
- A good first (undergraduate) degree in a relevant subject area
- For further information, visit or PLEASE NOTE: The PGDE programme is also open to candidates who do not qualify or who do not wish to apply for the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) Scholarship Programme. However such candidates will need to make their own arrangements for the payment of fees, and they will not be guaranteed a teaching post on completion of the programme. For further information about private candidacy please contact

- The writer is Senior English Press
Writer, Knowledge and Human Development Authority