x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Recruitment drive for native English teachers

Move is part of a strategy to teach high school science and maths classes in English by 2012.

ABU DHABI // Education officials have launched a recruitment drive to attract English-speaking teachers as part of a strategy to teach high school science and maths classes in English by 2012. Already 400 native English-speaking staff have been hired, with more to follow and start work at the beginning of the next school year. The new staff will be a combination of primary school teachers, who will give maths and science lessons in English, and secondary school teachers who will provide extra English classes.

The Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) announced the new approach on Monday as part of the launch of its 10-year strategy. The new plan will see classes in all of the emirate's state high schools extended by 90 minutes for four days of the week. The school year will also be extended by 10 days. The initiative follows the publication this year of results showing that only 13 per cent of university applicants could start degree courses without completing a remedial programme to boost their English. Less than one in 10 English-speaking teachers met the minimum standard of proficiency.

There are more than 13,000 teachers operating in state schools in the emirate, said Robert Thompson, the head of public relations and special projects at Adec. He said the recruitment drive "will make a difference. It is only a beginning." Dhuha al Tamimi, 21, who recently graduated from Qatr al Nada School for Girls, in Beda Zayed, and has enrolled in Al Hosn University in Abu Dhabi, said: "They should have done this a long time ago. High school is a crucial stage for students because they are aiming for high grades that would help them get into university, so they should have been taught Arabic and English earlier."

chamilton@thenational.ae * With additional reporting by Lubna Bagsair and Asma al Jeelani