Aristotle’s observation that excellence is never an accident is one that pupils at GEMS New Millennium School – Al Khail (NMS) have proven thanks to leadership support and commitment.
The students’ results speak for themselves – 98.2 per cent of the 165 students that made up the class of 2022 earned an A1 to B2 grade in their CBSE board exams. These results meant that almost all students secured a 60 per cent or above. Armed with this world-recognised qualification, the students are now on the pathway to a successful future career.
The school introduced IGCSE and A levels in September 2020, offering a dual pathway for students. The first batch of IGCSE students graduated in June 2022 with flying colours.
“The IGCSE and A-level qualifications being internationally recognised gives a springboard to students keen to pursue university courses in the West,” says Fatima Martin, Principal, GEMS NMS. “Also, the choice of subjects begins early in IGCSE, giving optimal advantage to students focused on specific career choices.”
IGCSEs are attractive to international universities and employers as they are based on a British curriculum where students must demonstrate their knowledge from various perspectives to ensure they truly understand the course content. Through IGCSEs, students are educated to become innovative thinkers who can independently work with minimal supervision via project-based learning. Furthermore, students are encouraged to think creatively.
While the IGCSE curriculum is well considered worldwide, in the Middle East, many students come from countries where such a pedagogy is not widely available. That’s why, along with the IGCSE curriculum, NMS offers the Indian education system of CBSE, which provides a pathway to IGCSE and AS/A-level programmes post-Grade 8.
As NMS students come from over 31 different countries, offering both curriculums means that the educational needs of all students are accommodated. Internationally recognised pathways and bridging programmes are also available for students who want to move from CBSE to IGCSE. “Students in Grade 8 in the CBSE stream who choose the IGCSE programme attend a bespoke transition programme – the bridging programme – from April to June,” explains Principal Martin. “Students are trained to practise more application-based questions and are exposed to multiple skills that will be required to gain IGCSE certification. They also familiarise themselves with the basics of new subjects, such as business and economics among others.”
When the students finish the bridging programme, they have the option of undertaking the Cambridge Assessment International Education Check Point Exams for English, maths and science at the end of June. These exams indicate the student’s readiness for the type of assessment systems employed in IGCSE. They allow pupils to be moved to the IGCSE stream at NMS and the KHDA records in September.
The comprehensive education at NMS aligns with the UAE National Agenda and prepares students to become academically prepared global citizens.
In addition, NMS nurtures its students further to become confident and innovative learners. This is facilitated by confidence-building programmes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which is respected by both employers and universities, and which promotes essential skills and attributes that are required for work and daily life.
NMS is also a Round Square school, part of a network of 230 international schools that collaborate and promote global competence, character and confidence in their pupils. “Our students have diversified access to a range of practical activities and programmes that build character, global awareness and confidence, instilling values for positive and active citizenship while developing exceptional leadership skills,” explains Principal Martin. By providing so many opportunities for students to achieve their highest academic and personal goals, students at NMS have become accomplished learners who regularly win esteemed prizes and awards.
“We have embedded an innovative approach to transform into an exponentially developed institution delivering future-ready students equipped with industry best practices,” she says. “Our students have been consistently bagging laurels in most regional and international events, including the GEMS Global Innovation Challenge, First Lego League, iCAN Children’s Global Summit, and Expo 2020 Young Innovators Challenge. We fortify the culture of innovation in our educators and strategies, which act as a catalyst to upscale our students’ learning outcomes. We are cognisant of the fact that our students are the next generation of leaders.”
Through its international education, confidence-building programmes and over 27 student-initiated and student-led clubs, including the NMS Debate Society, NMS Signature Chefs, Commercium, Amal Space Club, and NMS Art Society, NMS students can choose from countless opportunities. The school brings all these components together and equips students with the tools for a bright and fruitful future, while also providing them with the best start in their educational journey.
“Being a school topper helped me become a global citizen, focused and self-driven changemaker,” says Advik Unni – Alumni, Batch of 2021. “I have worked at the Quantum Research Centre in Abu Dhabi to program vacuum gauges as the only high school member of the team. I have even authored a research paper with a professor from Cambridge University, focusing on the shift from classical Physics to Quantum Physics and its applications in technology. My multi-faceted accomplishments in Model United Nations, and NMS Debate Society, the tech-driven community outreach initiative Techno Drive, and my passion for STEM have helped me conquer the arena of Computer Engineering at the University of Southern California, USA.“