Dubai: Dubai schools were inspired to build “tolerance” on campus during the What Works event in Dubai on Monday.
It follows last year’s What Works focus on “happiness”. Around 500 teachers participated in Monday’s event, hosted by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
The latest What Works edition, held at Amity University in Dubai International Academic City, aims to inspire “positive education” in the school community.
Teachers and local and international experts shared their experiences and knowhow in building the spirit of tolerance.
Dr Abdullah Al Karam, director-general of the KHDA, said: “If you carry this concept of tolerance you will have a better school. It’s going to be a happier school. They [students and teachers] are going to perform better. You will have less problems with bullying [for example] and so on. If you start it right, you automatically see the results further on.”
Dubai offers more than a dozen different curricula, with most students studying in private schools of various backgrounds.
Pakistani student Imran Tauqeer, 14, said preparing for Monday’s What Works school project helped him and schoolmates research the concept and best practices in tolerance.
“We have in the UAE a minister for tolerance. There are real things you can do to put tolerance in practice. And having a platform like this [What Works] makes you consciously think about what is tolerance and how we can work towards it.”
At the event, international positive education pioneers from Geelong Grammar School in Melbourne shared their school’s transformational journey at the event.
Justin Robinson from Geelong Grammar School, said: “Six years ago we changed our school policies to be underpinned by kindness. It simply was not possible to get a detention at our school even if a student did something wrong. Instead, there will always be someone to speak to.”
He added: “All schools like to reduce bullying behavior and it’s only possible by discussing empathy through positive education. Developing these skills is critical.”
Rashid Al Tunaiji from the UAE National Programme for Tolerance invited Dubai schools to contribute towards building a tolerant society as he said, “Since the inception of the UAE, our leaders have given special care and attention to promote the values of tolerance. Our emphasis is to spread values of coexistence, tolerance and peace in the society.”
A panel discussion on the day discussed the importance of social media in promoting tolerance.