x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Capital to take lessons from Finns

In its latest attempt to improve state schools, Abu Dhabi's education authority is looking to Finland.

ABU DHABI // In its latest attempt to improve state schools, the capital's education authority is looking to Finland. The Finns have one of the world's most successful school systems - pupils there posted the highest scores on the last round of the Programme for International Student Assessment examinations. The tests assess the level of maths, science and literacy of 15-year-olds around the world.

In September, two public schools in the capital will adopt the Finnish curriculum as part of a partnership between the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and a company called EduCluster Finland. Finnish teachers will be brought in to work in the Al-Ameen Primary School for Boys in Abu Dhabi and Hili Primary School for Girls in Al Ain. They will train their Emirati counterparts on child-centred methods of instruction. The local teachers will also have the opportunity to get a master's degree at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland.

Locals will continue to teach Arabic, Islamic Studies, social studies and culture and heritage while Finnish teachers will teach English, maths, science and information technology. "The Finnish curriculum and method of teaching is recognised internationally as developing well-rounded and innovative students," Dr Mugheer al Khaili, the director general of Adec, said in a statement yesterday. Since it was formed in 2005, the education council has been working to address a number of issues, including teaching quality and test scores. They introduced a new curriculum, based on the Australian one, in 2006.

But if university entrance examination scores are any indication the changes are yet to bear fruit. Average scores on the Common Educational Proficiency Assessment exam, used at federal universities, have remained constant, and Abu Dhabi's average this year was no higher than any other emirate. @Email:klewis@thenational.ae