Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s recently launched national identification system for private schools aims to help families choose the right school environment for their children.
But a senior official at the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) told Gulf News that the system has a bigger purpose.
“National identity is [first] The rating system is designed to give parents a good idea of the quality of ethnic identity programs and activities at Abu Dhabi private schools. [Apart from] To increase transparency in schools and empower parents to choose their ideal school environment, the rating system has a greater purpose.
“It aims to encourage private schools to integrate ethnic identity into their curricula [in order] To develop Emirati students’ understanding of Emirati traditions, customs and values, thereby aligning with the UAE leadership’s priority of fostering a sense of national identity for future generations,” said Dr Sara Al Suwaidi, Director of Educational Quality Assurance and Monitoring at ADEK.
“By implementing the grading system, we aim to create an educational environment that not only delivers academic excellence, but also develops a deep sense of national pride and cultural appreciation in students,” she added.
Around 200 private schools will be operating in Abu Dhabi by 2022-2023.
Checks for new ratings begin in the second week of May, with results due at the end of the school year. About 29 percent of the 264,000 students enrolled in Abu Dhabi’s private schools are Emirati, Dr Al Suwaidi said.
“Our inspection teams have already started their visits, prioritizing in the first phase private schools with the largest student populations in the UAE. [This phase] check will [therefore] Covering about 89 private schools, as for schools without national enrollment, they are welcome to request an assessment if they have relevant programs and activities to immerse foreign students in the country’s rich heritage,” the official said.
She added that foreign students would also benefit from the values promoted by the national identity scheme.
“Foreign students [in schools with highly-rated National Identity Mark ratings] Learn about the local culture in which they live and study. It will also provide them with a culturally based experience, developing an appreciation and respect for the country’s unique attributes and customs,” said Dr Al Suwaidi.
Private and charter schools in Abu Dhabi are individually ranked annually based on their quality and teaching standards. However, these differ from national identity symbols, which focus on promoting national identity.
Dr Al Suwaidi said schools must play a role in enabling students to understand who they are.
“Cultivating well-rounded citizens who are proud of their national identity is a shared mission between families, schools and the wider community. For many parents, strengthening a sense of national identity through education is crucial as it helps to instill in children A sense of belonging and pride, and we believe schools can play an integral role in this. Ethnic identity programs at schools complement and reinforce the messages and values taught at home. Collaboration and coordination between parents and schools will ensure that students receive to get a consistent message and understand the UAE and its values,” she explained.
National Identity Marks: How to Rate Schools
The assessment framework covers three main areas, with a particular focus on the values, vision and legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE.
Domain 1: Culture
-Arabic: How to teach and promote Arabic
-History: How the history of the UAE is taught and how this allows students to understand the foundations on which the country was built, and the values that continue to drive its growth and development
– Heritage: Linking the nation’s past to its present and future to ensure that national identity remains a living and dynamic reflection of the people and their shared experiences.
Domain 2: Values
-respect: Maintain an atmosphere of mutual understanding and harmony within and outside the school community
-pity: Emphasize the well-being of members of society and reinforce core values that promote unity in the wider community
-Global understandingg: To help students understand the impact of the UAE on international relations and how the country interacts with the world
Domain 3: Citizenship
-everything: Promote a sense of belonging as part of a thriving society that is proud of its identity
“Cultivating a strong sense of belonging among citizens, inspired by Sheikh Zayed’s unifying spirit, fosters students’ pride in their national identity and fosters active participation in civic life. By adopting a sense of belonging as a marker of national identity As part of the assessment, we ensure our country continues to foster an environment where citizens feel valued, connected and committed to improving our country,” said Dr Al Suwaidi.
-volunteer service: encourage active civic engagement
“The late Sheikh Zayed believed that volunteerism is a powerful tool for building a socially responsible and cohesive society. By assessing volunteerism as part of citizenship checks, we ensure that our country continues to promote altruism and positive A civic culture that ultimately reinforces the core values that unite us as a family, community and nation,” explained Dr Al Suwaidi.
-Protect: How students can develop a more sustainable future for the country and support Abu Dhabi’s vision for a sustainable knowledge economy
“Sustainability It has always been an inherent part of our culture, in line with Sheikh Zayed’s tradition of protecting nature. He recognized the critical role of the environment in sustaining the prosperity, well-being and future of nations. This enduring legacy lives on today, as many schools have embraced sustainable practices and run campaigns that encourage students to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives. So, the conservation element is organically linked to the national identity and we hope to see more schools and students sticking to this element and innovating more and better sustainable education practices,” said Dr Al Suwaidi.
what does the school say
Hanadi Yaser Mustafa, head of Aldar Education’s Arabic language development team, said that more than 80 percent of students at Aldar Education schools in Abu Dhabi are Emirati, with 26,671 students out of 32,829 students.
“Seamlessly integrating Emirati values, heritage and traditions into our curriculum is a priority at Aldar School.
By combining local history, cultural studies and Arabic, we aim to develop a deep sense of pride and understanding of Emirati identity in our students. In addition, cultural events that showcase and honor Emirati traditions and customs are enthusiastically celebrated and recognized through student-led events and initiatives that resonate with the entire school community, fostering a sense of unity and connection. These include National Day celebrations, UAE Flag Day ceremonies, captivating traditional music and dance performances, and exhibitions showcasing local handicrafts and arts,” said Mustafa.
“Additionally, Aldar School actively engages with the local Emirati community to promote cultural understanding and collaboration. The school arranges visits to important heritage sites, invites guest speakers to share their knowledge, and encourages active volunteering and community service activities among students to strengthen their The connection with Sheikh Zayed and the teachings of UAE values,” he added.
GEMS Education is the largest educational institution in the UAE, and its schools also have a large number of Emirati students.
“We are privileged to teach close to 2,000 Emirati students at our Abu Dhabi GEMS school…Across all GEMS Education schools in Abu Dhabi, teaching standards in Arabic, Islam and Emirati social studies are rated as at least ‘Good’ ’, while in most of our schools in the emirate, teaching standards are at least ‘very good’,” said Kelvin Hornsby, Senior Vice President Education, GEMS Education and Principal and CEO, GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi.
Hornsby said GEMS Education Schools teach Emirati values, traditions and traditions at all levels of the curriculum.
“This involves educating students about the history, culture and traditions of the country and instilling in them a sense of pride and appreciation for their Emirati identity. Throughout the year, our schools organize events and events to celebrate Emirati culture and heritage , including festivals and celebrations such as UAE National Day, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and UAE Flag Day. Students can participate in cultural events, wear traditional Emirati dress and taste traditional Emirati food,” he said.
The school also invites guest speakers and experts to give lectures and presentations on the culture, heritage and traditions of the UAE, and organizes field trips and visits to historical and cultural sites.
“With the introduction of the ADEK National Identity Mark, we will align Aldar Education’s internal school review process with these standards. The next step in our further strengthening of our national identity program is through ongoing collaborative planning between Arabic and English-medium teachers, Continue to develop our comprehensive curriculum.
“This will support our students to make meaningful connections with conservation and sustainability principles, cultural traditions, heritage and Emirati values through the seamless integration of all course subjects. We will also continue to provide professional learning opportunities to support teachers The understanding and appreciation of Emirati culture and the development of various provisions in the areas of the 3 national identity symbols,” said Stephen Sharples, Executive Director of Education, Aldar Education.
“National identity is a complex and multifaceted concept that encompasses all aspects of a country’s culture, history, traditions, values and beliefs. Strengthening these standards therefore requires a holistic and integrated approach.
“One way to strengthen it is by celebrating the country’s cultural diversity and heritage. Incorporating the teaching of the country’s history, values and traditions into the educational curriculum at all levels is equally important to helping students develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of their country’s identity, and instilling A sense of responsibility,” Hornsby said.