x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

2,500 pupils move to new school facilities in Al Gharbia

More than 2,500 pupils will be shifted to new public schools in Al Gharbia by April, Abu Dhabi education officials said, as outmoded buildings are replaced.

ABU DHABI // More than 2,500 pupils will be shifted to new public schools in Al Gharbia by April, education officials said, as outmoded buildings are replaced.

The schools are part of the 10-year Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) strategic plan to build modern educational facilities and align campuses to the New School Model, which was rolled out earlier this year.

Two of the five schools planned for Al Gharbia opened in September and the remaining three are slated to open early next year. Another seven have opened in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

There was extensive research on the link between school design and its impact on education, said Dr Lynn Pierson, the head of Adec's P-12 education policy sector.

"Availability of information communication technology, sufficient space that will allow for a range of experiences, and a place that is healthy and safe - as well as environment-friendly - is conducive to students learning," she said.

Three of the Al Gharbia schools will be able to accommodate 1,000 pupils each and the other two have a capacity of 800 and 600 pupils respectively.

About 30 of the 100 schools planned by Adec will replace old institutions in the next 10 years. The authority has also started renovating existing schools in the capital.

Adec's assessment of existing public school buildings found that many lacked the facilities it felt were required for effective teaching and learning. The initial design of long corridors and small classrooms restricted activity and hampered the implementation of new teaching methods.

"The [new] school facilities will be equipped with the latest education technologies," said Hamad al Dhaheri, who manages Adec's facilities division. "They are intended to be centres for social, cultural, educational and sports activities for all students, families and the community."

Dr Mugheer al Khaili, the Adec director general, said the new schools were designed and constructed according to international standards. Adec also aims to build all its public schools with energy-efficient designs and according to sustainability guidelines drafted by the Urban Planning Council.

The schools will be equipped with indoor and outdoor sports facilities, labs, theatres, restaurants and green spaces. Adec is developing them with an eye towards after-school community activities as well.

Dr al Khaili yesterday visited the site of the Al Shomoukh and Bedaa al Mutaw'a Schools, which are due to open in April. Another school at Al Selaa will also be opening next year.