RAS AL KHAIMAH // The first American international school with an English curriculum devoted to expatriates in the northern Emirates was launched yesterday. The Ras al Khaimah American School, built at a cost of Dh20 million (US$5.4m), is also the first school started by Khoie Education, a division of the Khoie Group of Companies.
The school will support the company's new residential development, La Hoya Bay on Marjan Island, which will include a hotel, marina, yacht club, business village and residences when it is finished by 2010. The company wants to open 10 more schools in the UAE in the next decade. "The opening of this new learning institute ushers in another exciting phase in the continued development of Ras al Khaimah's education sector," said Dan Young, chief executive of Khoie Education.
"The formative years are the most critical in a child's growth and proper education is definitely one of the factors that has a significant impact on this process." The school will use English and have an American curriculum, it will offer a learning environment that promotes understanding about the multicultural community, Mr Young said. The school will provide its students with the latest in teaching technology, including an interactive, computerised version of a chalkboard, and a motorised construction system that will enable children to build their own robots.
The school has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the oldest of the six regional accrediting agencies in the US, and the Council of International Schools, an independent, non-profit membership organisation of more than 250 schools across 110 countries. The school, which has been developed on a 2,500 square metre plot near the RAK Hospital, will offer classes for 300 pupils from kindergarten to grade five when it opens after the Eid al Adha break. The administration plans to add a level each year until it offers grade eight. In the future, the Khoie Group will establish a kindergarten-to-grade-12 American school adjacent to its La Hoya Bay properties.
Frank Khoie, chief executive of Khoie Group, said the new school was part of a plan to cater to an expanding expatriate population in the northern Emirates. The company's next project is building the Khoie Polyclinic next to the La Hoya Bay project. "You need education and you need health," he said. "It will be a total package for the community. It is not our intention to make a profit for the school. For the first three years we are going to lose money. It is not going to be a profitable centre but it is an important component in a larger picture."
During the past two years, enrolment in Ras al Khaimah's two other private schools has exploded. The Ras al Khaimah English Speaking School has 1,170 students, 844 of which are in its primary section. Last year it opened an affiliate British curriculum school that expanded from 540 to 812 students in its first year. The British curriculum branch plans to open a secondary school next year. The International School of Choueifat has added five classes in the last two years, nearly doubling its primary school enrolment.