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Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge has unveiled its first awards programme - ADEK Awards - to celebrate the outstanding achievements of people, schools, and initiatives across Abu Dhabi’s education ecosystem.

Open to all public, private and Charter schools in the emirate, ADEK Awards will celebrate and incentivise school achievements, innovation, and best practices while nurturing a continuous improvement cycle through healthy competition among schools.

Winners will receive recognition and cash prizes with a total value of over Dh6 million, with the school award prize value spent towards the winning schools’ improvement initiatives.

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“The ADEK Awards will recognise those of outstanding merit who contribute to building an education ecosystem which nurtures the next generation of lifelong learners,” said Sara Awadh Issa Musallam, Minister of State for Early Education, Chairman of the Federal Agency of Early Education, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge.

“This new awards programme will celebrate schools and individuals who improve and adopt best practices and help attain Abu Dhabi’s aspiration of a world-class education system where every student - regardless of their background and learning needs - can realise their full potential and become active and productive global citizens.”

She added: “Realising these aspirations would not be possible without the tremendous efforts of dedicated teachers, passionate educators, and tireless support staff who raise the bar every day in their commitment to support opportunities which improve the quality of learning and elevate education standards. These are the people we wish to recognise, and the awards will support the diversity of education initiatives, highlight the outstanding work of education professionals, and acknowledge their critical role as role models for the wider sector.”

Award categories

The School Awards categories include 11 sub-categories; namely: the Best Parental Engagement Award, Best Inclusion Practice Award, Best Professional Development Program Award, Most Improved Award, Best Student Wellbeing Programme Award, Best Literacy Programme Award, and Best Arabic Programme Award. The School Awards also recognise outstanding progress in four standardised assessments, with each category featuring different cycles and subjects.

On the other hand, the Individual Awards will cover three sub-categories for the inaugural year, including Principal of the Year Award, Outstanding Teacher Award, and Unsung Hero Award.

ADEK has confirmed that the awards will be expanded in the future.

“As the categories grow over time, we hope they continue to inspire the emergence of meaningful initiatives that further boost the quality of education provision and encourage educators to continue their strive to enhance learning experiences across our ecosystem,” Musallam said.

Next year’s editions will see the introduction of international assessment categories including the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).

Submissions to the awards will stay open until September 29. An expert judging panel will assess each submission to verify its compliancy with the set criteria and standards, before announcing the winners at a special ceremony.