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Summer school scheme will focus on English to lighten load on remedial classes

Programme aims to increase pre-university students' proficiency in English in order to reduce the need for language classes in early years of higher learning.

ABU DHABI // As many students head to university, one crucial line is missing from their CV, education officials say: a solid foundation in English. Citing a need to help students avoid remedial classes before starting university, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) announced yesterday that its summer educational programme would be expanded and focus more on language. "Almost 90 per cent of our students cannot get into university without foundation courses in English, which take up to two years from their education and also take up 30 per cent of the budget of the universities," said Mugheer al Khaili, director general of Adec. "This has been going on for 15 years. It is time to address this and solve it."

Examination results published on Sunday showed that only 13 per cent of students who took the Common Educational Proficiency Assessment exams did well enough to bypass English foundation classes upon entering university this year. The programme, called Summer Challenge, which is in its sixth year, will include Grade 11 students for the first time along with Grades nine and 10, Mr al Khaili said. It will bring in many other institutions, including Zayed University, UAE University, the Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi University, the Institute of Applied Technology and the German Technical Co-operation. More than 8,000 students from state-run schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia - 90 per cent of the total number of students in state-run high schools - have enrolled in the five-week summer school programme, which includes classes in English and information technology, and vocational courses such as carpentry, jewellery making, car mechanics and electronics. Courses will run from June 14 to July 16.

"Students will be urged to discover their own talents and find out their interests through the vocational courses," said Jurgen Koch, resident representative of German Technical Co-operation in the Gulf region. hkhalaf@thenational.ae

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