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SCHOOLS REPORT UAE: WHAT MADE THE NEWS FOR SCHOOLS, PARENTS AND STUDENTS IN EDUCATION THIS WEEK?
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SCHOOLS REPORT UAE: WHAT MADE THE NEWS FOR SCHOOLS, PARENTS AND STUDENTS IN EDUCATION THIS WEEK?

by Tabitha BardaMarch 10, 2022

The Schools Report brings you the SchoolsCompared.com official Weekly Briefing on the Hottest News in Education.

Every Friday we bring you the BIGGEST stories in education in the UAE and around the world in the last 7 days. Here’s what’s been happening this week…

This Week in Education. UAE Education News. First. Every Friday. Only from SchoolsCompared.com.

UAE teacher shortage: Schools urged not to ignore ‘red flags’ in rush to recruit

Global teacher shortage leads to warning for Dubai schools and UAE schools

Schools have been warned at a child safeguarding conference in Dubai not to hurry teacher background checks in their rush to recruit posts.

One head teacher said some schools were so desperate to fill vacancies that they offered roles before they even received references, reports The National.

Schools hiring new teachers have been urged to ensure qualifications are attested and watch out for ‘red flags’ in a candidate’s background – which could be anything from unexplained gaps in a CV, to dubious references or a questionable social media presence – to ensure that child safeguarding is embedded in their recruitment practices.

Find out more about the UAE teacher shortage and how it could pose a threat to child safeguarding.

GEMS_INARTICLE  

New flexible-timings, IB Bloom World Academy to open in Dubai this year

Photograph of landscapted grounds and setting of Bloom World Academy in Dubai

In a major announcement for the UAE, Bloom Education has confirmed launch of the first stand-alone Bloom school in the UAE – and the emirates first truly progressive school.

It has been confirmed that the new Bloom World Academy will offer an all-through International Baccalaureate curriculum education to students between the age of 4 years and 18 years, but will initially open to Year 9, with remaining years opening in gradual phased launch to culminate in the awarding to students of the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Grade 12.

In a radical twist, one heralding far reaching implications for education in the UAE, Bloom World Academy is to offer a number of UAE firsts and innovations. Bloom World Academy will:

be the first school in the UAE to offer a late start time of 9:00am;

be the first all-through IB school to offer a flexible school day, offering families significant scope to educate children around their family commitments;

be the first to offer “Learning Achievement Passports” which will enable students to much more significantly customise their learning around the own individual needs, potential, ambitions and talent; and

Find out more about how Bloom World Academy is set to be the first truly progressive school in the UAE.

ADEK: Masks off outside for Abu Dhabi kids amid series of major COVID changes

masks off KHDA covid rules

Pupils in Abu Dhabi are now allowed to remove their face masks during playtime outdoors, as part of major changes to Covid restrictions at private schools in the emirate.

The move, which will be welcomed by many parents, comes days after education regulators in the capital confirmed quarantine for close contacts was being scrapped in schools.

Previously, face masks were mandatory in all areas and close contacts were transferred to distance learning for 10 days.

Under the new rules, pupils in Year 2 and above must still wear face masks while indoors, but they can remove them when they go outside to play.

Children in kindergarten and Year 1 were never required to wear masks.

Other changes for Abu Dhabi schools include:

  • Physical distancing is now optional outdoors
  • All field trips can resume (schools to follow precautionary measures of the place they are visiting)
  • All sports activities and competitions can resume for pupils of all ages
  • In-school events and activities, including school assemblies, can be carried out with a capacity of up to 90 per cent
  • Bus capacity is now 100 per cent

Children in Abu Dhabi now have the same freedom as those in Dubai, who were allowed to take face masks off outside earlier this month.

Pupils in Abu Dhabi can now take their masks off outdoors amid series of major changes (thenationalnews.com)

Ramadan timings UAE 2022: What will school hours be during Ramadan?

Ramadan is due to start in less than a month’s time, and parents are wondering what UAE schools’ Ramadan timings will be during the Holy Month now that the UAE working week has become 4.5 days?

Although the timings are yet to be confirmed by school authorities, the UAE has announced Ramadan working hours for federal government employees, and schools tend to follow suit.

Federal UAE government entities will be open for five hours per day for the first four days of the working week during Ramadan, from 9am till 2pm Monday to Thursday. The usual working day Monday to Friday for government employees is 7.30am to 3.30pm, so this represents a day that is shorter by three hours.

On Fridays during Ramadan, government entities will be open from 9am to 12 noon, compared to the regular timings of 7.30am to 12 noon, representing a day that is shorter by 1.5 hours.

Find out more about how Ramadan timings could affect you and your child.

Medical students displaced by Ukraine crisis plead for more Dubai universities to help

The plight of thousands of medical students caught in the crossfire of the Russia-Ukraine conflict has led to widespread concerns about their future.

The displaced medical student community from Ukraine is now asking more universities to help after a UAE-based university announced it would welcome Indian students.

Gulf Medical University (GMU) announced it would offer Indian medical students free seats and scholarships based on merit.

Many students hailed the move by GMU, which aims to ensure uninterrupted education for affected Indian medical students.

For years, Ukraine has been a popular higher education destination for students from the UAE and India, especially those pursuing medical studies.

UAE resident Anees Mohamed who was pursuing his MBBS, second year (3rd semester), at Kyiv Medical University, says, “I fled from Ukraine just before the airport closed.

“Most of us, including me, just had a backpack with only our passports and a few pair of clothes. I am still waiting for my documents. I approached the GMU after reading the news. They are asking for the transcript. But the situation is still quite uncertain there. I am trying to get my transcript dispensed.”

Anees adds, “I wanted to study in Dubai because it’s after all home, and I completed my schooling here in the UAE from The Elite English School. But when I wanted to get into a medical college here, I realised the fee here was beyond my means.

“I would certainly want to continue my studies in a safe place like the UAE, provided I manage to get into any University with a similar fee structure that I had in Ukraine. Or any scholarship would also aid students like me.”

Former Dubai students displaced by Ukraine crisis plead for more universities to help – News | Khaleej Times

Dubai school fees are frozen for another year – but at what cost?

School Fees - should they rise in Dubai Schools. The big debate

This week Dubai’s private-school regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), announced that school fees will be frozen for the next academic year 2022 – 2023. Laptops, phones and social media groups lit up as most parents across the emirate expressed both joy and relief at the news. And it’s little wonder – whether parents are experiencing or recovering from pandemic salary cuts or not, the news that the family purse strings do not have to be further tightened to pay for education is bound to be welcome.

However, there is a flip side to the story. This will be the third year running that fees have remained static, and UAE schools tell us that the cracks are beginning to show.

One parent commented on our post about the School fees freeze:

“Who is going to pay for this? I don’t want my kids to have unhappy teachers or the quality of teaching to suffer.”

Although schools are glad to be able to offer good-value education to Dubai families, school leaders have revealed (in hushed whispers, mostly) that their inability to raise fees once again is going to have consequences – on their propensity to innovate, their ability to retain and attract the best staff, and ultimately on the quality of education that they’re able to provide.

Dubai school fees are frozen for another year – but at what cost? – Dubai schools, Abu Dhabi schools, Sharjah schools with fees, ratings and more – SchoolsCompared.com

ADEK: Abu Dhabi schoolchildren’s bus journeys must not exceed 75 minutes

School bus safety

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) has outlined a number of requirements that private school buses must adhere to while transporting students to and from schools.

One of the major stipulations include fixing the time for a single trip to school or pupils’ home at a maximum of 75 minutes – from the time the first student boards the bus until the last pupil gets off the bus. This will come as a relief to parents, many of whom expressed shock at the beginning of this academic year when short distances were turning into two-hour or longer school bus journeys due to issues with bus routes and driver availability.

Another requirement states that school buses must be equipped with a surveillance system including at least four cameras. This is timely since parents have expressed concerns over school bus safety, following two accidents this February.

In the Private Schools Policies Manual which was sent to schools, Adek stressed that the students should be transported safely and efficiently in accordance with the specific requirements of the government agencies concerned with transportation of school children.

The regulations call for providing pupils with safe and high-quality buses at reasonable transport charges, and selecting external transport operators through an open and competitive process, provided that they have a licence from the Department of Transport.

Under the transportation measures, schools and external transport companies must comply with the requirements of the Department of Transport and the Vehicles and Drivers Licensing Department related to transporting students to and from school.
UAE: Adek outlines new requirements for school transport – News | Khaleej Times

KHDA rules change: Dubai parents and kids rejoice as class bubbles officially ‘pop’

Covid bubble boom in UAE Abu Dhabi

COVID-related classroom bubbles in Dubai are now officially popped, with the Dubai school regulator the KHDA confirming that there are no longer any restrictions on class sizes in schools or Early Childhood Centres for children under the age of 6.

UAE parents have rejoiced at the news, with one mother-of-two – a daughter (age 2) who attends nursery in Dubai, and a son (age 4) who attends a non-profit school in Dubai – telling SchoolsCompared.com:

“This is great news. I explained to my son this week that I was now going to be in the office as the virus was now less dangerous, and he looked up at me with beaming eyes and said, ‘Does that mean we won’t have class bubbles anymore!’ He was so excited.”

“The children deserve to live in a more ‘normal’ school environment with less restrictions, so they can have fun and develop friendships.”

“This is also great news for the teachers as they don’t have to split their time between the kids. In my son’s school the bubbles meant that the teachers had bi-weekly interactions with the children so that they weren’t interacting with both sides of the bubble at the same time.”

Read more about how children were “buzzing with excitement” as class partitions came down.

UK’s Durham School signs Emirates REIT lease for Dubai site

Prestigious private school Durham School has signed a lease with Equitativa (Dubai) Limited, the manager of Emirates REIT, according to a statement to Nasdaq Dubai.

Having previously announced plans to open a branch of the school in Dubai in 2015, which never emerged, according to reports by Whichschooladvisor, Durham School LLC has now signed a lease for a site in Dubai Investment Park (DIP).

Durham School, based in the Northeast of England, opened the single sex Durham School for Girls in Qatar in 2019. It will join other top British private schools, including The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, North London Collegiate School (NCLS), Repton, Cranleigh and Brighton College operating in the UAE.

UK’s Durham School signs Emirates REIT lease for Dubai site (zawya.com)

UAE Parents prioritise mental health support when choosing school for teenagers, survey shows

Mental health support is one of the key factors UAE parents consider when picking a school for their teenager, according to findings from a recent Censuswide survey. The survey, commissioned by leading British Curriculum school, the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, discovered that more than 70% of parents are worried about the mental health support that their child is currently receiving at school and 50.4% of parents want to see mental health on a school’s curriculum as standard.

With the traditional school life and young people’s learning disrupted for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no surprise that the survey also discovered that 71.6% of parents questioned believe that their child’s mental health has suffered as a result of the pandemic, and 71.6% of parents believe that home-schooling has had a negative impact on their own mental health.

UK Universities advised against ‘conditional unconditional’ admission offers

IB Career Related Programme Destinations - in Deamnd by employers and universities

A new code of practice for universities will aim to stop the practice of making “conditional unconditional” offers to avoid students making choices that are not “in their best interests”.

The offers give students a place regardless of their exam results, but only on the condition they make the university their firm first choice.

Their use has risen in recent years but was temporarily banned by the Office for Students – the body responsible for regulating universities – at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

After an 18-month review, Universities UK (UUK), which represents the sector, is set to publish its code of fair admissions, outlining how processes must support “student choice”.

The code will say that universities should not make “conditional unconditional” offers, or offers with significantly lower grade requirements based on applicants making their institution a firm choice.

The practice has been widely criticised over concerns that it demotivates students from working hard for their A-level grades and fulfilling their potential.

Universities advised against ‘conditional unconditional’ admission offers | Education | The Guardian

Eid Holidays UAE 2022: HUGE long weekend expected at end of Ramadan. But do UAE kids have too much time off school?

Experts expect that the Eid Al Fitr public holidays will kick off on Monday 2 May, running for up to four days until Thursday 5 May. Combined with the weekend at the end of the previous week, this could mean UAE school kids and teachers enjoying a bumper long weekend of a whopping 7.5 days off – or up to 8 days off for those in Sharjah, who already have a regular three-day weekend. Find out more about the likely dates of Ramadan and the Eid Al Fitr holiday.
This bonanza public holiday is set to fall just a fortnight after many UAE schools will have just returned from Spring Break – leading some parents to wonder whether UAE schools actually offer value for money, considering how many days they have off? But do UAE school kids actually have more time off school than children at schools in the rest of the world? Find out in our comparison article here.

Russians at UK universities ‘lonely and guilty’ as they fear for the future

UK Universities say that although their priority must be supporting their Ukrainian students, they are also reaching out to Russian students, who may be feeling alone but unable to ask for help.

Vivienne Stern, head of the international arm of vice-chancellors’ group Universities UK, said universities are offering emotional support to “extremely distressed” Ukrainian students, as well as help with money problems, visas, and advice on trying to bring parents to the UK.

But she said many are also “proactively getting in touch” with all students from Russia and Belarus to understand their situation and offer support.

She added: “There have been rumours circulating suggesting that universities have been expelling Russian students. But all I have heard is universities doing the opposite and reaching out to ​understand how they may be able to help.”

Prof Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, said his university is offering its Ukrainian students “as much support as we can”, but also calling every Russian and Belarusian student to check they are OK. Some were relying on roubles they can no longer access, he said.

“We have a duty to all our students wherever they are from, and you can’t make students responsible for the actions of their president,” he said.

Russians at UK universities ‘lonely and guilty’ as they fear for the future | Universities | The Guardian

KHDA: Dubai schools have got kinder after COVID, shows survey

Students’ well-being in Dubai schools has either improved in the last five years or has stayed high, according to the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority’s (KHDA) latest student well-being census, which was released on Wednesday.

The findings are the concluding part of a five-year project that measures how students in Dubai’s private schools feel and think about their own wellbeing over time. As one of the world’s largest cross-cultural studies on student well-being, the latest survey gathered data from 108,224 students, representing 86% of students from 189 Dubai private schools. The survey was answered by children between Year 5 and Year 13 in schools across Dubai.

Overall, Dubai students seem to rate their wellbeing highly, despite the impact of the pandemic, according to the results that the KHDA has released in an infographic.

Schools have become kinder post pandemic, according to the survey findings over time: In 2017, 78% of students in Grades 6 to 9 agreed that people at their school were treated respectfully and helped each other. By 2021, it was 85%.

Dubai: Students’ well-being in schools has improved, census says – News | Khaleej Times

Tabitha Barda’s The Schools Report © SchoolsCompared.com. 2022. All rights reserved.

 

 

About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of SchoolsCompared.com. Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and SchoolsCompared.com's The School's Report - the global weekly round up of what matters in education for parents which is published every Friday, reviewing schools across the UAE - and features on issues that really matter. You can often find Tabitha on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

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