Dubai: Government schools across the UAE are all set to accept 274,895 students enrolled in primary and secondary levels on Monday, Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Schools Establishment (ESE), said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
“The UAE schools are ready for students coming in on Monday. We have a few minor challenges but we have ensured that schools — from the safety perspective — are ready. In terms of PCR tests for public schools, there has been a full distribution of centres across all emirates; and different mechanisms have been put in place to ensure safe return to schools and make this academic year successful as we move forward,” Al Amiri told Gulf News after the press briefing.
Also present at the press briefing on academic year 2022-2023 were Lubna Al Shamsi, acting executive director of School Operations Sector — Abu Dhabi; Mohammed Al Qasim, acting director general of ESE; Faryal Tawakul, acting CEO of Emirates Transport; Hessa Rasheed, acting executive director of School Branch 2.
Al Amiri said: “We have worked effortlessly to develop a clear plan, to manage and operate government schools, aiming at providing support to our students and school cadres, and developing our educational system in line with the future requirements and challenges. Our wise leadership attaches great importance to the educational sector as one of the most important pillars of human development.”
Trainings and workshops
At the press briefing, Al Amiri said: “We started the new academic year by launching various training workshops targeting 22,557 teachers and administrators. The trainings will continue throughout the school year, aiming at developing educational cadres and providing them with the latest methods and skills. ESE has hired 1,096 new teachers and educational staff to raise readiness and ability to fill current and future needs.”
Safety of buildings
Amiri also reaffirmed the readiness of government schools, noting that “specialised teams have worked effortlessly to raise the readiness of 95 per cent of government schools with periodic maintenance.”
“We were able to equip 150 schools affected by the recent weather conditions in the eastern coast of the country. The maintenance included repairing buildings, internet service and replacing damaged display devices and smart learning screens,” she explained.
Interactive learning devices
Al Amiri also noted ESE has distributed 857 new interactive screens in schools, in addition to providing backup devices distributed to all schools for emergency use. ESE also provided all curricula electronically on the Al Diwan platform and distributed 25,434 computers as well as 4,103,960 books.
Al Amiri also highlighted the Ajyal Schools model, which is operated in partnership with the private sector and under the direct supervision of ESE. She noted that the number of students who attend the new model in its first academic year 2022-2023 has reached 5,902 students, distributed among 10 schools in various regions of the country.
School bus services
Meanwhile, Tawakul noted more than 4,000 school buses are ready to provide school transport services this school year. There are also 100 buses equipped for people of determination and 490 new school buses to transport about 170,000 students in 504 government schools.
Tawakul noted: “Our priority at Emirates Transport, is the safety of our students, which have been translated through our full commitment to all safety requirements, in cooperation with all parties, and we ask especially the parents to prepare their children, and direct them to observe discipline in school buses.”
UAE public schools by the numbers
274,895 students in UAE government schools (all grade levels) enrolled this year
24,751 educational staff
564 government schools
4,000 school buses to be deployed
225 PCR testing sites at schools
4,103,960 school books distributed
25,434 laptops and PCs distributed