Education reforms put UAE pupils on track for better learning
DUBAI // Public school pupils in Dubai and the Northern Emirates returned to class to find new textbooks, new subjects and new teachers as part of the education overhaul.
“This improvement is meant to tackle several issues in the education system in the UAE,” said Dr Hamad Al Yahyaei, the Ministry of Education’s director of Grade 9 to 12 curriculum.
“One of them is to make sure that we keep enhancing the students’ readiness for higher education and competitiveness in the job market.”
The curriculum reform – designed by the Ministry of Education and approved on Monday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai – applies to public school pupils from kindergarten to Grade 12. It aims to bring government schools closer to meeting the goals outlined in the National Agenda’s Vision 2021 for a first-rate education system.
“One of them is to make sure that 100 per cent of the students, by 2018-2019, can get into college without a foundation year,” said Dr Al Yahyaei.
“Then the Ministry of Education needs to make sure that the students who will get into the colleges will have the needed standard in English, Arabic, maths and science, along with other skills.”
To raise those standards, the ministry handed out new textbooks and hired new English-speaking teachers to teach new subjects that will be compulsory for high school pupils.
“English, Arabic, Islamic studies, social studies, maths, science, all those courses were part of the curriculum previously,” Dr Al Yahyaei said.
“Now, the ministry has taken a step forward by improving the content and making sure this content is aligned with well-defined international standards and this content has been introduced to the students at the same time. The content within each curriculum, within each subject, is up to date.”
From kindergarten to Grade 9, all subjects will continue to be taught in Arabic, with the exception of English language classes. But high-performing students who achieve top grades will be moved into a stream where they will learn advanced maths and science subjects in English from Grade 7.
Primary and secondary pupils will also be required to take part in co-curricular classes. Physical education and arts and music will each be held for two periods each week.
“From Grades 10 to 12, the student will start taking subjects such as life skills, health science, business and entrepreneurship, technology and entrepreneurship, creative design and thinking – these classes,” said Dr Al Yahyaei.
Arabic and integrated social studies have also been revised.
“The ministry, during this reform, they gave a very special attention to Arabic, social studies and STEM studies,” said Dr Al Yahyaei. “The Arabic language, they have changed the entire curriculum. With the social studies, the ministry has partnered with many institutes here in the country to provide the needed resources to make sure that when they deliver the social studies subject for the upper grades, it will be fully integrated, it will integrate history, geography, economy, politics, all of these in a single subject.” A special committee has been established to develop a curriculum for moral education, which is expected to begin during a pilot phase in January.
“These things are what the reform is about, or what the change is about, to make sure that the curriculum will be up to date, that it tackles the current issues,” said Dr Al Yahyaei.
“Then you need to make sure that you improve the areas they needed -- the technology knowledge, they needed rigour, they needed skills that will be addressed in every single subject.”
Updated: August 30, 2016 04:00 AM