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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

New school in Dubai to offer path to success in scientific age

Dwight School's famous alumni include could help guide students through design projects

Janecke Aarnaes, Headteacher of Dwight School Dubai, said the cost of tuition is good value because pupils will be supported by the school to achieve their ambitions. Pawan Singh / The National
Janecke Aarnaes, Headteacher of Dwight School Dubai, said the cost of tuition is good value because pupils will be supported by the school to achieve their ambitions. Pawan Singh / The National

Hollywood star Vin Diesel and Star Wars composer John Williams are just some of the former alumni who could be judging pupils’ projects at the new Dwight School campus in Dubai.

The new Barsha school is due to open in September next year, and is promising to help pupils future proof their education to prepare them for emerging new tech industries.

Teachers at the school said Dubai is perfectly placed to host the first school from America to open in the UAE – with fees expected to top Dh130,000.

Headteacher Janecke Aarnaes said that is good value as pupils will be supported through the school to achieve their ambitions.

“Dubai is the perfect place for an innovative school, as it is a city that is looking at the future,” she said.

We are looking at how we can make changes to education and bring it to the next generation.

“Dwight pupils can go on a personalized journey.”

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Innovation, engineering, entrepreneurship and creativity are at the heart of what Dwight aims to bring to the crowded UAE education market.

Figures from the recent RSA Conference on cyber security in Abu Dhabi showed young people were increasingly looking at alternative careers in the technological industry.

The US National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) backed survey showed 67 per cent of Emiratis said they were more likely than a year ago to consider a job in cybersecurity, compared with 48 per cent regionally and 39 per cent globally.

Dwight School claims it is helping prepare young people in Dubai to help suit that growing demand to pursue more tech based jobs in the future.

The school’s Spark Tank encourages pupils to pursue their own passions and ideas, and develop new products.

Pupils learn the process of developing a business idea and preparing it for product launch.

Pupils present their ideas in front of a committee of industry professionals and former alumni who have success in the relevant field.

“Through allowing students to pursue these areas we can make them ready for the future,” said Ms Aarnaes.

“They will be able to create their own jobs and find new opportunities. That is where Dwight and the UAE are a perfect match.

“Spark Tank is open to everyone, and pupils who are about to leave the school go through an innovative engineering programme to help prepare them for the next step in their lives.

“We help prototype their ideas, test them and prepare the product through the design phase and launch to help them with their own business.

“’This has been tried and tested in our New York school and will be something we will be launching from day one in Dubai.

“Our students will sit facing some of these famous alumni during the Spark Tank judging.”

One pupil to have found success through the project is a 13-year-old pupil in America who has developed a 3-D prosthetic hand able to detect neurological signals to help amputees.

The design has since been prototyped and presented to manufacturers to ready it for the healthcare market.

Another grade six Spanish pupil with a keen eye on fashion has developed her own clothing line and has started an online company selling clothes to others her age.

The school will have technology as an integral part of teaching methods, using virtual reality headsets and robotics to help children learn.

Artificial intelligence will be a key part of the learning curriculum.

Pupils will learn the technical skills of robotics, coding, programming and creative parts, and have 3-D printers at their disposal.

They will be encouraged to develop an idea, proto-type, test, reconfigure and develop the product out to the market.

Dwight School will sit on a 40,000 square-metre campus in Al Barsha, next to Brighton College Dubai. Both schools will have their own stand-alone campus, but also have shared facilities, such as the centre of excellence for Arabic language, culture and the arts.

Class sizes will be restricted to about 20 pupils, with larger classes divided up to suit specialist teaching requirements, and offer a New York visiting programme for pupils.

Dr Abdullah Al Karam, chairman of the board of directors and director general of KHDA said the school will help bolster options for parents in Dubai.

“We are delighted to welcome Dwight School to Dubai and increase the offering of International Baccalaureate curriculum to the emirate,” he said.