Dubai: The UAE’s public education sector has become highly competitive, opening 14 new schools and attracting 20,000 students from the private education sector, the Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology announced today.
Addressing a media briefing in Dubai about the new school year, Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, who is also Chairperson of the Emirates Schools Establishment (ESE), said the readiness level of public schools to welcome back students is at “100 per cent”.
She added that ESE has executed “all-encompassing” plans for the upcoming academic year to ensure the delivery of the “highest educational standards” and enhance the learning environment across the public education sector.
The remarks were made during the press conference to announce preparations for the 2023-2024 academic year, organised by the UAE Government Media Office and the ESE, in Emirates Towers. The event was held in the presence of Mohammed Al Qasim, Director-General of Emirates Schools Establishment; Hessa Rasheed, Acting Executive Director of Education Development Sector, Emirates Schools Establishment; and Dr Omar Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director of School Operations Sector- Abu Dhabi, Emirates Schools Establishment, along with educational leaders and representatives from various media outlets.
Minister Sarah said government schools, including the ‘Ajyal Schools’ model, will witness the enrolment of over 20,000 students transferring from the private to the public education sector this year.
“We are kicking-off the new academic year by launching the ‘Specialised Training Week’, to engage and enhance the readiness of education sector professionals, from teachers to sector leaders. The initiative centres on refining their competencies and bolstering their expertise with up-to-date pedagogical practices. Additionally, we aim to strengthen the role of educational leadership in creating an optimal educational environment within the school community,” she added.
The minister highlighted the participation of 23,492 educational professionals in the Specialised Training Week, which features 165 training workshops and three educational forums covering various speciality areas. The training also focuses on the latest technological advancements and their applications in developing educational methodologies, which will ultimately reflect on student development, enhance the overall quality of education, and improve its outcomes. The total training hours reached 656 hours.
She pointed out that the new academic year will witness the opening of 14 new schools across various emirates. This is part of ESE’s strategic plan that responds to and accommodates population growth in the country and meets the increasing demand for public educational services.
Engineer Mohammed Al Qasim, Director-General of the Emirates Schools Establishment, said ESE had commenced preparations for the new academic year around six months ago. Internal task forces were formed to execute comprehensive plans covering all elements of the educational process. This included the preparation of infrastructure, the refurbishment and maintenance of school buildings, the provision of school uniforms, as well as enhancing the readiness of educators.
He further emphasised that, in line with the commitment to provide an educational infrastructure that comprehensively supports the developments in the education sector, a specialised task force was formed to carry out maintenance for each school individually. This was done in parallel with a comprehensive survey that was conducted to assess the infrastructure of all government schools across the country. In collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, ESE completed development and modernisation works for 30 schools, and renovation for 47 schools.
Al Qasim also highlighted the efforts of the Emirates Schools Establishment in improving school transport services, noting that in cooperation with service providers, ESE ensured the readiness of the 4,800 school buses, confirming their adherence to the highest safety standards. Additionally, 78 brand-new school buses have been added to the school transport fleet for the daily transportation of students to and from their schools.
Devices and books
HE also mentioned that 3,600 computers will be distributed to students in accordance with the process tying device allocation to progression between the three educational stages. Furthermore, 2,187 interactive display devices will be provided to government schools for use in different subject classes.
Around 10 million copies of curriculum books have been printed, and public schools across the Emirates will begin distributing them to students on the first day of school. He emphasised that the distribution process will be closely monitored and the highest standards of transparency will be observed.
Al Qasim noted that ESE has made school uniforms available to parents two months prior to the start of the academic year. These uniforms were made available in July through more than 50 sales outlets across the country and via online platforms. In total, 600,000 school uniforms have been distributed through various sales outlets. He also confirmed that the Ajyal Schools model, comprising 18 schools this year, will welcome more than 13,000 students.
ESE also plans to implement over 450 extracurricular activities for students in the upcoming academic year.