Abu Dhabi: Financial scholarships ranging from Dh1,000 to Dh100,000 will be granted to secondary school students who volunteer in an upcoming project aimed at strengthening the academic situation among public schools in the UAE.

The Emirates Foundation (EF) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) have announced at a meeting on Tuesday that they will be investing in four new school projects known as the Emirates Foundation Scholarships Initiative (EFSI).

Teachers, students and parents are encouraged to submit projects and suggestions related to public school libraries, school curriculums, ways of encouraging students to take part in community works to improve their leadership skills and to promote parental participation.

Incentives and opportunities will be offered through financing volunteer projects. A committee has been formed to evaluate the winning projects.

Khuloud Al Nuwais, Project Director for the EF, said winning projects are based in three categories. Namely 20 scholarships will be granted to individuals with an amount of Dh100,000 to cover public school libraries; 16 scholarships with an amount of Dh50,000 to cover curriculum development and 20 scholarships with an amount of Dh30, 000 to enhance parents contribution in teaching issues.

Dr Haneef Hassan, Minister of Education, explained that the initiative emanates from the strategy of the federal government, aimed at promoting and deepening volunteer work while strengthening the educational syllabuses.

Ethics and behaviour

"Education is not just about learning, teaching and a curriculum," said Dr Hassan. "It also involves social behaviour, community work and ethics. This is yet another initiative to help strengthen education in the UAE and is only a beginning that will continue to grow," said the minister.

The EF and Takatof Programme (meaning shoulder to shoulder in Arabic) have been working on this initiative for the past three years.

Al Nuwais told Gulf News that all nationalities from public schools are encouraged to participate. "Starting today we are testing the scholarship project and require parents, teachers and students to participate by submitting proposals and ideas on how to improve facilities and curriculums in public schools and libraries," said Al Nuwais. "We have come up with this project to engage civil society in being more innovative".

According to Maitha Al Habsi, Takatof Director, scholarships will be granted to people with new ideas benefiting the UAE. "The project must have innovative ideas, a positive impact on society and should be approved by the school administration," said Al Habsi.

"The project must be implemented and submitted to us in a period not less than three weeks from the date of receiving the grants."