Monthly Archives: December 2017

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UAE Education Begins a New Chapter

Novel courses, organisational changes and innovative strategies marked the year 2017

With school fees always on the minds of parents, it was announced as early as February that private schools could hike fees ranging from 2.4 per cent to 4.8 per cent for the 2017-18 academic year (which began in September), depending on their inspection rating.


Of the 159 schools inspected this academic year, 16 schools were rated ‘outstanding’, 14 ‘very good’, 69 ‘good’, 50 ‘acceptable’ and 10 ‘weak’. None was rated ‘very weak’.


As it turned out, at the start of the current school year, of the 159 schools that were eligible to increase fees, 22 decided to freeze fees.


By June, shortly before the summer break, the first batch of teachers obtained the UAE teacher’s licence. The 106 newly-licensed teachers represented 15 private schools in Dubai that had participated in the pilot project of the Teacher and Educational Leadership Standards (TELS) and licensing programme. Schools have till 2021 to ensure all teachers are licensed.


Teacher licensing will be overseen across the UAE by the NQA and Ministry of Education, in coordination with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek), Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and other relevant entities.


Moral education

At the start of the new school year, in September, schools started teaching moral education as a subject.


The subject is mandatory from grades one through nine this academic year. In the next academic year, schools will teach Moral Education in all grades.


Moral Education is a national initiative announced in 2016 by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.


The programme broke new ground in that it is not limited to textbooks, classrooms or exams. Schools are free to implement whatever steps they want to achieve the goals of the new subject, which will be monitored by authorities as part of overall student development evaluations, which are already included in official school inspections.


Unified model

The same month, the Abu Dhabi Education Council, then known as Adec, was made a government department according to a decree issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is now known as the Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek).


September also saw the unification of schooling into new common education system all where government schools and private schools that follow the government curriculum will adopt the ‘Emirati School Model’ to lift standards. The change was also part of the directives of the President and UAE leadership.


Wellbeing Census

Also for the first time, in November Dubai students began participating in a massive census about their welfare, the results of which will be used to improve their well-being. The Dubai Student Wellbeing Census 2017 will be held every year for five years, polling 70,000 students in grades six to nine.


The first edition of the census concludes by the end of this year.


Mainstreaming inclusiveness

Also in November, authorities announced the Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework, launched by the Inclusive Education Taskforce headed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), with the mandate to transform all Dubai private education providers to be fully inclusive by 2020.


It came in line with the Dubai Disabilities Strategy and part of a larger citywide goal of making Dubai a disability-friendly city by 2020 through the ‘My community … a city for everyone’ initiative.


Towards the end of the year, in December, the Cabinet announced a National Higher Education Strategy 2030, which will see, among other developments, the Ministry of Education issuing a star rating to all licensed colleges and universities in the country. It will also aim to boost the number of PhD candidates, while slashing the rate of school drop-outs in the UAE. Another target is to closely align the degrees and skills of graduates with the demands of the job market.


What’s in store for 2018?

As early as January or February next year, the results of the first-ever Dubai Student Wellbeing Census will be out. Polling 70,000 students in grades six to nine, the census will reveal their concerns and aspirations at school, any bullying issues, how they spend time with family at home and engagement with friends and peers.


Dubai parents will also be waiting to hear the latest Education Cost Index, which, together with government inspection results, sets the rates of school fee increases. The ECI is usually announced in February for the next academic year.


In numbers

More than 139,500 students study in more than 70 licensed higher education institutions


There are over 12,800 graduate students in the UAE


840 students are pursuing their PhD in the UAE


Dubai will need an estimated 74,500 additional seats in 50 new private schools by 2020


On average, UAE parents spend around Dh365,000 on a child’s education from primary school to university


More than 1.1 million children attend public and private schools in country


Did you know?

There are around 17 different national curriculums taught in Dubai’s private schools, including Japanese and German


University students in Dubai can hold paid part-time jobs in thousands of companies in nine free zone clusters


UAE schools teach mandatory Moral Education lessons in class, focusing on ethics, respect, tolerance and culture



© Gulf News

December 2017

GESS talks to Zen Khan, CEO Education 1st Recruitment

Participating at GESS for the first time is a great experience that many of our exhibitors have experienced at some point. This month, we interviewed our first time exhibitor, Zen Khan from Education 1st Recruitment. Read all about her experience of starting a company, plans for GESS Dubai 2018 and more in our conversation below. That’s not all… Zen will be also speaking on ‘retaining teachers in a transient environment’, in the Innovations conference room on 28th February 2018 at 11.30am the World Trade Centre, Dubai. Calling all enthusiastic educators to attend her session!


Zen, you have founded Education 1st Recruitment Ltd. What was it like to start a company that aims specifically at providing ambitious teachers and leaders to the right type of school?


Starting up a new company is always challenging, and extremely rewarding at the same time. Education 1st was established to support Partner schools and improve education in the region by supporting teachers to find the right schools for them and vice versa.


Having worked as a Senior Leader in schools both in the UK and Internationally, I realised very early on that to enable a school to run effectively the right staff must be in place, having consistency in staffing is key when running a school. The Education 1st team therefore, only recommend schools after we have taken into consideration, the requirements of both the candidate and school.


Please tell us more about your company…


Education 1st Recruitment offers a personalised recruitment service to our Partner schools and our Candidates. Specialising in the Middle East, our global consultants strive to exceed expectations by hard work and commitment.


We provide qualified, native English speaking teachers in line with the requirements of our Partner schools.


The Education 1st team is unique and breaks down barriers and status quo, we recruit professional mums from around the globe, who are supported and trained by myself, they are all dedicated and work tirelessly to meet the needs and expectations of our Partners whilst balancing work with home life. Education 1st believes that our team can work both as professionals and more importantly as mothers, both can be achieved parallel.


As recruiters, they often go over and above their role to ensure our candidates are regularly supported and guided, moving to a new country is always daunting, my team are on hand to answer any questions that candidates may have and help them to settle into their new role.


We are thrilled to have you on board for GESS 2018 & this is your first time exhibiting with us. What are you hoping to achieve and who should visit your stand?


We are very excited to be exhibiting at GESS 2018. The exhibition will provide us with the opportunity to form new Partnerships with schools, teachers and educational professionals. Myself and my UAE team will be available to network with others and share with them our enthusiasm and company aspirations.


What can our visitors expect to see at your stand at GESS 2018?


We will be providing information about our Recruitment & Consultancy services. We will be on hand to answer any questions and we look forward to welcoming everyone.


How do you select potential educators for the UAE? 


We select based on International good practice and on the needs of our Partner schools, this enables us to find high-calibre candidates who meet the school’s expectations and will fit into their organisational culture.


What exciting projects are you currently working on?


This is a very exciting time for me and the Education 1st team, we have many new projects that we are currently working on which include the launch of our new website and Education related Training & Development courses as well as training schools on how to use data more meaningfully.


We would love to know your secret to staying innovative & how you developed a passion for education…


Our secret to staying innovative is our passion to exceed expectations, by circling every square and by that we mean thinking outside of the conventional ways and ensuring our schools and candidates are well matched, we aim to support both with their recruitment and developmental needs.


We offer a personalised recruitment service to those we work with and go above and beyond to ensure their needs are met.


As a mum of 4 boys I have always had a passion for education, having had the opportunity to work as a Senior Leader in the region it has enabled me to contribute and make a difference to those that I have worked with. It is important to share our experiences ,our candidates and schools know who we are and how we will help, we innovate by being different whilst upholding to all professional expectations.


Is there anything you would you like to say to some of our lovely readers and visitors?


I am very excited to be speaking at the GESS 2018 exhibition about ‘retaining teachers in a transient environment’, I look forward to seeing everyone there, the session will be in the Innovations conference room (exhibition floor) on 28th February at 11.30am.


What takeaway tips would you like to share with educators who are planning to start their careers in the UAE & those who have been working here for some time?


Enjoy your time in such a country which has grown so much in education, the opportunities here are endless and every member of the education profession can grow, the only thing that can restrict us is ourselves!  So grow yourselves, nothing stops you.


December 2017

Specialists in Global Learning

There’s nothing like Australia!


The World Bank’s latest rankings positions UAE 21st and Australia 14th among 190 countries in “Ease of Doing Business”. The rankings reaffirm the commitment of nations in providing a concrete platform for attracting global business.


The long-standing economic partnership between the UAE and Australia has led to UAE being Australia’s largest Middle Eastern trading partner. This mutual partnership of trust has seen increased trade links in areas of investments in various sectors, such as trading and education with over 350 Australian companies registered in the UAE, along with two reputed schools in Sharjah and few notable universities and higher education providers in Dubai. A rough statistical estimate indicates that there are around 25,000 Australians living in the UAE, mostly working, making  it the ninth-largest home for Australian citizens abroad. Around 350,000 Australian tourists visit the UAE to explore the beauty of the country.


On the other hand, Australia is the fourth most preferred tertiary education sector destination among UAE residents after U.K., U.S. and India with around 700-800 registered UAE students in Australia. Globally, Australia is 3rd most popular study destination. The country is the world’s 13th largest, rated AAA by all three global rating agencies, forecast to realise average annual real GDP growth of 2.9 per cent over the next five years – the highest among major advanced economies and characterised by high productivity levels, with 15 out of 20 industries rating above the global average.


It is important to note here that a recent article in The Australian newspaper titled ‘Report shows students favour private degrees’ reported that undergraduate student numbers in commercial colleges rose almost one-fifth between 2013 and 2015, while postgraduate numbers more than doubled.  In contrast, public universities had a one per cent decline in commencing student load in 2015. This trend has continued in Australia as young and innovative private higher education providers continue to challenge the older public universities.


One such private provider is the S P Jain School of Global Management. The recognition of SP Jain was further cemented when the Indian Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley, commenced his visit to Australia on March 29, 2016 and his first stop was this institution where he spent valuable time visiting the campus.


SP Jain’s education model adopted for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes was where students are required to study in three global campuses located in Dubai, Singapore and Sydney. Students experience broad cultural and educational related activities out of the classroom as part of their global learning experience. Through Action Learning and Regional Immersion Projects, students work as consulting groups for companies in each region where they conduct primary and secondary research to analyse and resolve real life problems. Through teaching material incorporated in our programme such as Emotional Intelligence, Innovation, Creativity and Agility, and Effective Communication, students are taught to be job-ready. They are also assisted to develop their resume writing, interview preparation and participate in mock interviews. Postgraduate and undergraduate students are also assisted with attaining internships and full-time employment. Consequently 97 per cent of our graduates find global employment.


S P Jain’s standing can be demonstrated through the multiple high rankings it has received. Some of the notable ones being Forbes’ top 20 Best International One Year MBAs continuously for five years, The Economist’s top 100 full-time MBAs worldwide, and Financial Times’ top 100 Global MBA programmes.


With growing strides, the institution has managed an indelible imprint as an Australian institution of higher learning, striving for rethinking and reimagining the business education of the future.


© Khaleej Times

December 2017