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Tough new tests for prospective Arabic teachers in Dubai

Assessors from the education regulator will now directly supervise the recruitment of teachers in those subjects instead of leaving it to schools.

DUBAI // Teachers of Arabic and Islamic education face tough new tests before being employed in Dubai's private schools.

Assessors from the education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, will now directly supervise the recruitment of teachers in those subjects instead of leaving it to schools.

All prospective teachers will undergo a set of tests and interviews designed by the KHDA to analyse their subject knowledge, understanding of teaching methods and practical lesson planning skills.

The move is part of the authority's effort to improve pupils' consistently poor performance in these subjects. "We have informed the schools of our new selection process, explaining the rationale behind it," said Jameela Al Muhairi, chief of the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau.

The KHDA has always licensed teachers but schools will now have to submit candidates to a four-stage assessment process before offering them a job.

"In June 2013 we received applications from 92 new Arabic and Islamic Education teachers, 18 of whom were granted teaching appointment letters," said Ms Al Muhairi.

The new assessments will take place three times a year in September, December, and May.

Ms Al Muhairi said other moves were being put in place to improve the standard of teaching in both Arabic and Islamic Education in private schools.

"We seek our stakeholders' cooperation in providing better learning opportunities for students by ensuring the recruitment of effective teachers in these two key subjects," she said.

Dr Samia Al Farra, chief education officer at Taaleem education group, said the move was a good one in principle.

"It a good step in the right direction but I wonder if the logistics of it will work. Does the KHDA have the capacity to assess a large number of teachers and what about the quality of assessment?" she said.

wissa@thenational.ae

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