Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Teacher licensing and the incorporation of Moral Education into the mainstream curriculum are among the main focus areas for the new school year that began on Sunday, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) told Gulf News.
Emphasis will be placed on getting faculty and school leaders prepared for the mandatory teacher licensing that is set to begin in September 2017, said Dr Karima Al Mazroui, executive director for P-12 (kindergarten – Grade 12) at Adec.
“New learning outcomes have also been set for subjects like music, art and health and physical education to keep up with the changing landscape. The previous outcomes were dated, so these new ones will be finalised by next year,” she said, pointing out “teachers will be trained accordingly”.
Public and private schools will also work to include moral education as part of their curriculum, and a pilot project to test implementation will begin in January 2017.
Meanwhile, all Cycle 1 (Grades 1 to 5) and Cycle 2 (Grades 6 to 9) pupils are now being taught under the Abu Dhabi School Model, which prioritises creativity and critical thinking over rote learning. The roll-out of the model to Grade 9 has been achieved this academic year, ushering in a transformed learning experience for all public school pupils in primary and middle school.
Also new this academic year are 146 Emirati teachers who have joined the public school teaching staff as part of 700 new recruits, said Salem Al Daheri, executive director of school operations at Adec.
“Many of them are specialised in teaching maths, science and English, which form the core of the Abu Dhabi School Model,” he said.
Dr Al Mazroui also urged parents to play an active role in their children’s education. “As children get older, parental involvement tends to decline and this is a major challenge for any education system,” she said.
Meanwhile, the educational opportunities offered by Dubai’s private schools continue to grow. This academic year, more than 265,299 students will be going back to school in the emirate.
Kalthoom Al Beloushi, executive director of Education Development at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said: “Parents will benefit from more than 50,000 new seats offered by 15 new private schools which will open in 2016-2017. The total seats of schools are estimated at 360,000, which is more than had been anticipated, revealing the constant growth in the educational landscape in Dubai where investment in education is strong and in demand. Seats occupied by students of the total seats available in the private schools is currently estimated to be around 89 per cent, [based on] 2015-2016.”
The new schools range from different curricula — American, British and Indian — which will be located in different areas, increasing the accessibility of a diverse range of schools for students around Dubai.
The development results in “better and outstanding quality of education with a wide range of educational institutes to meet the needs of our uniquely diverse society”, Khalthoom said.
Regarding school fees, Mohammad Ahmad Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Permits Commission (RPC), KHDA, explained: “For this new academic year, 109 profit schools and 27 non-profit schools were eligible to change their tuition fees. There were 105 profit schools and 19 non-profit schools that applied to get their tuition fees raised, and out of this number 103 profit and 19 non-profit schools had their fees increased, making the [range of] percentage increase in tuition fees this year between 3.21 and 6.42 per cent, all in accordance with the School Fees Framework.”
Also returning this year are the Roads and Transport Authority’s various programmes for schools, such as the Traffic Safety Contest, which has a cash prize of Dh50,000 for student teams.
Maitha Bin Adai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency, explained that the school awareness programmes aim to “maintain the zero traffic fatality in school zones, which has been maintained over the past five years”.
In the last five years, the RTA surveyed 251 sites in school zones in which it had carried out a number of safety and security procedures for road users. The procedures implemented at some school zones till the end of 2015 included the fitting of 849 directional signs, 160 traffic-calming devices, and 36 pedestrian crossings, said Bin Adai.
Family Village, the first endowment community orphanage in Dubai managed by Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF), organised a special event to help its 33 young orphans prepare for the new school year. In collaboration with the Planning and Development Department at the Ports, Customs and free Zone Corporation, Dubai, the back-to-school event was intended to prepare children living in the village for the new academic year and encourage them to work hard to achieve their dreams. The children also received school bags, stationery and other school gifts during the event.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai is running a back-to-school campaign called #NewYearHope, asking Dubai’s education community what they wish for in these next eight months of school. All students, parents and teachers in Dubai are welcome to post by text, images or a short video on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, using the hashtag #NewYearHope. KHDA will put together everyone’s hopes in a film that will be shared with everyone. It will be shared again in June 2017 “to see if we all achieved what we hoped for”. Make sure to post your #NewYearHope by Thursday, September 8, urged the KHDA.
“New learning outcomes have also been set for subjects like music, art and health and physical education to keep up with the changing landscape. The previous outcomes were dated, so these new ones will be finalised by next year… Teachers will be trained accordingly.” Dr Karima Al Mazroui, executive director for P-12 (kindergarten – Grade 12), Adec.
“As children get older, parental involvement tends to decline and this is a major challenge for any education system.” Dr Karima Al Mazroui, executive director for P-12 (kindergarten – Grade 12), Adec.
“The new schools bring considerable diversity and promising growth within Dubai’s private education sector. One of the schools is a branch school with 130 years in education coming all the way from the UK to Dubai. We also see new branches of existing schools along with an expansion in the non-profit schools.” Kalthoom Al Beloushi, executive director of Education Development, KHDA.
“The objective of school awareness programmes is to maintain the zero traffic fatality in school zones, which has been maintained over the past five years. We also aim at improving the traffic attitudes, and instilling the traffic safety culture amongst youngsters and community members in accordance with the strategic plan for shaping students from recipients to practitioners of information.” Maitha Bin Adai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic & Roads Agency.