x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Pupils turn teachers for Dubai education conference

Thirty pupils have been selected to participate in an education summit that aims to highlight areas for improvement in Dubai schools.

DUBAI // Shruti Iyer will next week tell 500 teachers exactly what she thinks of the job they are doing.

The 16-year-old is one of 30 teens chosen to attend the What Works conference on Monday, organised by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

"This is such a different experience from our day-to-day activities," said Shruti, who is in Year 11 at the Indian High School. "It gives us an outlet to share our ideas. To help the education authority makes me feel responsible."

KHDA hopes the conference will lead to more discussion on private education and how it can be improved in the emirate.

The workshops and debates will focus on improving Arabic and Islamic education, special-needs provisions, assessment methods, leadership and self-evaluation. Teachers will share what has worked best in their classroom.

Ashok Kumar, chief executive of Indian High School (IHS), is one of the four principals who helped to plan the agenda and topics for the conference at Zayed University.

"It is important to share what works for us with the other schools so we are all on the same page," said Mr Kumar. "And the more we talk to each other, the better we will become."

He said involving pupils in organising the conference and taking their feedback gave them important lessons in confidence and leadership.

The student volunteers will assist delegates and host debates.

Kimberly Brinkman, 16, of Jumeirah Baccalaureate School (JBS) said decisions made at the conference would affect pupils, so it was only right to give them a voice.

"We are teenagers, but in order for schools to progress our opinions must be heard," she said.

Arthur Seiwert, a Grade 11 pupil of JBS said, if given the opportunity, he would like to suggest the use of more technology-based teaching. "I can see schools are slowly adopting it," he said.

What Works is supported by Dubai Police, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Dewa, the Islamic Affairs Department and the Hamdan Awards.