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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 October 2018

Major changes announced to Abu Dhabi schools’ curriculum

Science, technology, engineering and maths will make up 50 per cent of the new state secondary school curriculum as part of Adec's reforms to the emirate’s education system.

ABU DHABI // Pupils will no longer choose between streams of study after a unified curriculum placing more emphasis on science subjects is introduced this year.

The move to a single curriculum will produce graduates who are better suited to the demands of the country’s labour market, Abu Dhabi Education Council said on Wednesday.

Science, technology, engineering and maths, or Stem, will make up nearly 50 per cent of a unified state school curriculum for Years 10 to 12.

Pupils entering Year 11 have had to choose between science or humanities, which they study until graduation.

Last year 79 per cent chose humanities, which includes less complex maths and sciences, said Dr Alaaeldin Aly, Adec head of knowledge management.

“Eighty per cent of the students are studying these kinds of courses and there are no jobs for them,” Dr Aly said.

“You have to adjust to the labour market, so to adjust you have to start with the schools.

“The leadership wants more industries relying not on oil to build an economy that will produce knowledge.”

Dr Aly said the revised curriculum would also better prepare graduates to enter university without having to go through the foundation year, which will be scrapped by federal universities in the 2017-2018 academic year.

The unified system will be introduced for Year 11 pupils in August. They will spend 21 periods a week studying Stem subjects, including eight of maths, four physics and six periods devoted to two science options.

They must also choose a technology class such as ICT, creative design or computer programming, which will take up three periods a week.

Fifty-five per cent of the pupil’s final grade will come from Stem classes.

The other classes will be compulsory and comprise 14 periods of language and speech communication, six of humanities, three of health and activities and one period of career counselling and test preparation.

The curriculum will be introduced to Year 12 pupils at the start of the 2016-2017 year.

Pupils will still be taught in Arabic but the bilingual Abu Dhabi School Model, previously called the New School Model, will still be introduced into the higher grades.

The model, in which pupils receive maths and sciences lessons in English, will be introduced to Year 8 next academic year. A new grade will be added each year afterwards.

“We need the student to be able to communicate using both languages and be proficient also in applying those languages on the daily basis,” said Dr Najwa Al Hosani, Adec’s curriculum division manager.

“We need them to be able to present something in English, be confident with their proficiency and be able to correctly communicate with others.”

Students in the reformed high school curriculum will also spend one period a year receiving career training and test preparation classes.

“The reformed curriculum is designed to prepare students to engage in practical life and adhere to lifelong learning,” Dr Al Hosani said.

“It also provides them with the fundamental skills and experiences that will help enhance their chances of joining higher education institutes without the need to take a foundation programme, or assume a job in mostly needed scientific areas such as science, technology and engineering, which play a vital role in achieving the goals of Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030.”

rpennington@thenational.ae