Moral education curriculum to be rolled out in September
ABU DHABI // The moral education curriculum will encourage students to be more creative, innovative and respectful to others, teachers say.
The curriculum will be officially rolled out across all schools in September following a pilot phase in 20 public and private schools beginning in January.
The Moral Education Committee presented the provisional accreditation and implementation plan of the curriculum at a forum attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, ministers, representatives of government and educational entities and parents.
Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on the curriculum, which will be divided into four main pillars, including character and ethics, individual and community, civic education and cultural education. The pillars contain more than 65 units that will be taught over a six-week period, and through classes as part of the schools’ activities and cultural events.
Sheikh Mohammed outlined the elements that complement moral education, which include the values drawn from a tolerant religion, from genuine traditions and from the values of humanity.
The moral education curriculum was launched by Sheikh Mohammed as a key element to develop and modernise education in the country.
“Our children face major challenges, and it is our responsibility to prepare and protect them,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “We should not sit back and watch. We should rather race even the light, not only the wind, to ensure that our future generations are well prepared for more achievements and progress. History will judge us on what we did for our children and our people, because the real asset of the nation is its people.”
Mariam Al Zaabi, an Emirati public school teacher and parent, said adding moral education to classroom instruction was welcomed and overdue.
“The curriculum has been changed a lot and it was focusing only on getting kids more creative and more innovative, and they forgot about how to respect even each other’s innovations,” said Ms Al Zaabi. “They invent something, they do things brilliantly, but they don’t respect, they don’t have those values. So having this as part of the curriculum is very essential.”
Ms Zaabi also noted that today’s Emirati youth are exposed to a tremendous amount of foreign values, religions, cultures and experiences and that they need to learn how to be a good citizen.
“I feel that this will be a really big improvement in the personality of the students,” said Ms Al Zaabi. “Especially ethics. Ethics is a huge thing. Our kids need to be aware of all of those things and be able to set boundaries in their lives and understand the consequences if they cross those borders.”
Emirati public school principal Sakeema Al Hammadi said the “strategy will help more in the schools”.
“We must now use this strategy because we want our children to improve their thinking and understanding. We can not only let them memorise the knowledge. We need them to understand, to discuss with each other, to work in groups.”
Alun Yorath, headmaster of Brighton College, said teachers are role models for the next generation, investing effort and time in ensuring that every child is a responsible member of the wider community in which they live.
“In such a position of responsibility, teachers are pivotal in the formation of strong moral values in the next generation. At Brighton College our PSHE [personal, social, health and economic] and co-curricular programmes purposefully encourage pupils to initiate and lead activities which have a positive social contribution. I welcome a national curriculum which serves to ensure that all schools across the nation place the same emphasis on moral development as we do and look forward to helping ensure that this programme is the success that society needs it to be.”
Sheikh Mohammed also met a group of parents who were involved in the development of the curriculum as key partners in the initiative.
“We look forward to the support of parents,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “Their role is pivotal as they represent the first line in instilling ethics and a positive attitude. Home and family are the cornerstone for raising and educating children.”
The success of this initiative hinges on the shared responsibility of the school, home, community and organisations, Sheikh Mohammed said.
“The current challenges make it necessary for us to double efforts in developing the educational system and in boosting capabilities of our children through modern curricula and programmes, coupled with a solid foundation of ethics and manners.”
Sheikh Mohammed also expressed his confidence in the teachers who play an important role by being role models for students in proper ethical behaviour.
“For students, the teachers are beacons of motivation, not only in learning and understanding ethical and cognitive skills and values, but also in the way they practice them and embed them in their behaviour and attitudes,” said Sheikh Mohammed.