Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (left) UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs handing over the Khalifa Award for Education to Asma Jilani (right) of Our English Highschool Sharjah for Best in Educational and Institutional Performance during ceremonies at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates on Monday April 15, 2013. Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: From Grade 1 onwards, schoolchildren at the Our Own English High School in Sharjah (Girls’ Branch) attend mock parliamentary sessions that debate on appropriate homework policies and what food should be served in the school canteen.

“Empowering schoolchildren to take charge of their education is the key towards helping them develop responsibility and leadership qualities,” Asma Gilani, the school’s forward-thinking principal, told Gulf News.

The institution was on Monday honoured at the Khalifa Award for Education for demonstrating excellence in educational and institutional performance.

“This award validates our efforts in offering quality education,” Gilani told Gulf News.

The school, which offers the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education curriculum, currently has 8,000 pupils enrolled.

“Some of our special initiatives include training for pupils in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and women’s hygiene. We also have a library curriculum that requires pupils to read and discuss at least three books per month, and are working at present to encourage further use of the schools’ libraries and e-library,” Gilani added.