Dubai: Chinese School Dubai (CSD), the first Chinese curriculum school offering K-12 education outside of China, has opened its doors in Dubai on Tuesday.
Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, was present to inaugurate the school that will mainly focus on serving the Chinese community in the emirate.
“We welcome the opening of the first Chinese public school outside China in Dubai as a step that reflects the depth and strength of the ties of friendship and cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the UAE,” said Sheikh Mansour after he unveiled the commemorative marker.
The school’ inauguration was simultaneously held and beamed live online from Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province, where school officials and teachers were directly recruited by the Hangzhou Education Bureau.
Chinese Consul-General Li Xuhang said: "Chinese School Dubai will inherit the glorious tradition and advanced education concept of Hangzhou No. 2 High School, providing the children of overseas Chinese in Dubai with basic Chinese education of high-quality.”
“The school adheres to the principle of ‘All for the Students’ and strives to cultivate future qualified citizens with Chinese hearts, international vision and humanistic accomplishments to realise the mission of building a world-famous overseas Chinese school in basic education,” he underlined.
The Chinese Consul-General also described CSD as a “win-win project undertaken by China and the UAE” aimed at promoting bilateral relations and cultural exchanges. The school will also attract talent from China and other regions to study, work and live in Dubai.
According to Li, there are around 300,000 Chinese nationals living in Dubai. CSD is the first overseas Chinese school to get financial support from the Chinese government and the addition of CSD brings the number of curricula offered by Dubai’s private school sector to 18.
Speaking to Gulf News, school principal Yin Liping said a pilot batch of around 200 students have enrolled for the first term. The school will initially offer classes up to Grade 5 and operate on a non-profit basis.
“There has been a great demand among the Chinese community to have their own Chinese school,” noted Yin, adding: “It take us only six months to prepare the establishment of the school.”
Yin said CSD is not only the first school Chinese school in the UAE but is also a model for establishing other Chinese schools overseas.
“Eventually, we will offer full KG to senior high school and will accommodate at least 1,800 students in this (Mirdif) campus. We are also planning soon of establishing another campus in the emirate,” Yin told Gulf News.
Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director-General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said: “When a new school opens, it also opens opportunities for everyone around it.”
“China and the UAE have had a close long-standing friendship, and there’s no better symbol for that friendship than a school. (CSD) will connect parents and teachers and it will be the heart of the Chinese community in Dubai fostering a rich exchange of teaching and learning,” he emphasised.
Aside from the Chinese national curriculum, students are also taught Arabic as second language, Islamic studies, moral education and studies based on the UAE national curriculum.
High tech campus
Located in Mirdif’s residential area, the school boasts of having high tech facilities and abiding to strict health and safety protocols.
A giant screen and several temperature scanners were located right at the entrance of the main school building. Each person’s temperature is checked and a voice prompt will mention if it is normal or above average.
A disinfection booth was set up at the left side of the building entrance while several isolation areas were designated on the right side. Nurses, wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) were also on hand in the school clinic.
The mode of teaching was face to face. Each classroom only has 12 students; desks and chairs were at least two metres apart and everyone was wearing a face mask.
A touch screen is placed at the door of each classroom where all the names of the students and teachers are listed; and beside each name is the body temperature. Teachers were also seen asking students to do some stretchings and basic calisthenics after each class.