Impacting generations through education

The UAE has left no stone unturned in bringing high standards of teaching in schools and universities.
The UAE has left no stone unturned in bringing high standards of teaching in schools and universities.

With the introduction of many foreign universities, schools of different curriculum are becoming an integral part of the UAE.

Published: Sun 22 Mar 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 23 Mar 2020, 1:00 AM

Tabassum Vally and Ghazala Tikki Zaman
The UAE was one of the first countries in the Mena region to recognise the critical importance of education. This was done in order to provide the foundation for life-long curiosity and critical thinking to shape and form the contours of confident and vibrant future citizens. The UAE is benchmarked with a high-net enrolment ratio in early childhood education and continues to encourage diversity and improvement in the overall quality of early childhood education, according to Maliha Ahad, Director of AIM Middle East.

Amongst the glitz and glamour of the UAE, there has been a surge in the number of academic institutions, be it primary, secondary or universities. With the introduction of many foreign universities, schools of different curriculum are becoming an integral part of the UAE.

The country has not left any stone unturned in bringing high standards of teaching in schools and universities. They are unique in challenging close to 20 different nationalities in the classroom. Great care is taken to ensure the smooth working of each curriculum, keeping in mind the sensitivities of various cultures.
Like many other facets of life, the Pakistani community has played an important role in the field of education. Dedication to teaching has been at the very core of their work and they see tremendous opportunities for mentoring and teaching a diverse set of students.

Dr Nighat

A practising consultant, obstetrician and gynaecologist for the last 25 years in Dubai, Dr Nighat is an associate professor for Dubai Medical College and an examiner of MRCPI (Ireland) and Dubai Medical College, among others. She is passionate about imparting knowledge of obstetrics to midwives, undergraduate and postgraduate doctors.
"It has been a pleasure serving the downtrodden and underprivileged communities of the UAE since 2009. It has been a dream come true with the future opening of the Pakistan Medical Centre. It is a non-profit community healthcare facility that will embrace people from all communities and provide state-of-the-art services in line with Dubai Health Authority.
I regularly perform community health awareness programmes including breast cancer, depression prevention and management alongside blood donation drives," she said.

Maliha Ahad

Maliha Ahad is the founder of AIM Middle East, an educational consulting and training organisation based in Dubai UAE, providing contemporary research-based, best-in-class educational services. She is a passionate advocate of quality Early Childhood Education and speaks at various regional events on the importance of early childhood education and is a regular speaker and awards judge at GESS UAE.
She is now focusing her energy to work with governments and regulators to ensure that the impact of these programmes is far reaching and can enrich the lives of generations. When she founded AIM about seven years ago, she and her team made a commitment to ensure quality to be at the core of their performance. So far, AIM has integrated a hybrid model of face-to-face teaching with an advanced technology platform to ensure it provides their female segment with flexibility of time and a more transparent structure. AIM's trained teachers are now successfully working in schools and nurseries across the UAE.
"Aim Middle East is committed to the UAE vision of quality education that is in the line of 21st century learning. We believe in inspiring motivating and energising educators with a view to enhancing and developing their skill set in order to enrich the learning experience," she said.
Ahad holds the opinion that UAE is a unique environment to work in with myriads of cultures co-existing in harmony.

Amber Hussain
Living and working as a teacher in a British curriculum school in Dubai, Amber Hussain has been teaching for over 20 years. Growing up England, she was encouraged to achieve an excellent level of education. At the time of arriving in Dubai, she had three young children and was keen to get to know the educational system of the Middle East. Once they were settled into school, she was impressed with the standard of education and the dedication of the staff at Jebel Ali School, and thus, started working as a supply teacher. She had gone from being a subject specialist to brushing up skills in science, maths, and even making papier-mache in art! The transition was facilitated by those staff who have now become her family in Dubai. "I revel in the many academic, sporting and social opportunities that Dubai schools offer. The high level of continuing professional development offered in a British curriculum Dubai school sets her in good stead should I ever wish to return to the UK. For the time being, I am extremely happy to be living and working in Dubai with my family," she said.

Dr M Sajid Khan

The weather, American University of Sharjah (AUS), and the diverse cultural environment of the UAE were among the factors that led Dr M Sajid Khan to the UAE from the UK, who added that he is privileged to have been in the higher education sector for the past 20 years or so. To date, he is a professor of marketing at AUS' School of Business Administration, where he teaches upper-division marketing courses, and conducts theoretical research in the fields of customer satisfaction, loyalty behaviours, and causes of customer defection.
"One of the best parts of my job at AUS is the constant interaction that I enjoy with a world-class faculty on-campus and with students who are sharp, full of great ideas, and who have got the right attitude to excel in industry within Mena and beyond. As an expat, I believe that it is a vital aspect of a country to have a safe, friendly and secure environment to live in. For this, the UAE is simply a wonderful example," he said.

Sumaira Osmani
Associated with Szabist Dubai since 2008, Sumaira Osmani has over 17 years of teaching experience at university level, with a Master of Philosophy in Psychology from The National Institute of Psychology (Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad) and a Master of Science degree in Psychology from Government College University Lahore, as well as a diploma in Mental Health from MacEwan University, Alberta. "I have also taught at the Ajman University of Science and Technology and Dubai Pharmacy College, prior to joining Szabist Dubai in 2008. Currently, I work as a programme manager, staff and student advisor, full-time faculty (Psychology, Sociology, Communication Skills, Writing Skills and Personal Management) at Szabist Dubai," she said.

Dr Amina Khan

Dr Amina Khan came to Dubai about 10 years ago. As a mother of two young kids, she found it difficult to devote herself to a demanding career, so instead enrolled in a two-year master's programme in public health at the Michigan State University in Dubai.
She had a wonderful experience on and off campus but highlighted that the most exciting part was getting a teaching opportunity soon after finishing her degree.
"My six-year journey in this academic world has been full of gratification. I have seen many capable and potential youth who have reached their desired goals and achieved high positions in the job market. I believe that Dubai provides quality education from top reputed universities around the globe and has emerged as a true knowledge hub on the world map. Being a Pakistani,
I would really like to see universities back in my country provide similar learning opportunities, so that our future generations are fully prepared to realise their true potential," she said.

Saima Asghar Ria
With an MA in teaching the English language, Saima Asghar Riaz has actively involved with the development and capacity building of teachers, examiners, students and professionals in Pakistan and the UAE. Saima is an expert in educational brand building and recruitment for international educational institutions. She has been representing Warwick University's International Office (now Student Recruitment Outreach and Admissions Services) in Pakistan for 20 years, and more recently in the UAE. She has also been instrumental in not only raising brand awareness among students and employers, but also in supporting Pakistani institutions like Aga Khan University, Nust and Comsats to access and link with relevant departments and academics at the University of Warwick to develop new programmes and strengthen existing facilities. Among other achievements, Riaz is a voluntary member of the Institutional Review Board of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, and Honorary Advisor for Door of Awareness, a charity run initiative that provides free education and vocational training to the underprivileged.

Umair Tariq

Originally from Lahore, Umair Tariq is an investor and entrepreneur, who has lived in the UAE since 2003 with a stint in London. Leaving a banking career behind, he had decided to partner with the Kido Group and bring their brand Safari Kid to Dubai in 2014, when reviewing the quality of education offerings for his then-one-year-old son. Now Tariq is the Global Chief Financial Officer for the group, leading its expansion and drive in the Middle East. Kido is an early childhood education platform dedicated to transforming the practice, experience and delivery of early childhood education and care across the world.
"Our mission is to bring early childhood education firmly into the 21st century - integrating advances in pedagogy, technology and design to create a globally scalable platform capable of delivering the highest quality of early years' education anywhere in the world, at any price point," he said.
Over the next three years, the group aims to rapidly expand its presence in core markets, while integrating AI and sensor technology, etc. into its platform.

Mahvish Gul

Having been an active member of the academic fraternity in Dubai, Mahvish Gul witnessed the growth of higher education in Dubai and the evolution of the academic landscape in the UAE, as the country flourished into a fully-grown education industry.
"These are exciting times to be part of Dubai's growth and that includes the progression of the educational sector, which has already shown phenomenal development and will only go from strength to strength. I feel privileged to be a part of the academic world as for me teaching is the most rewarding experience. To actually see my work reflect through my students and to witness them succeed is a wonderful feeling. To know that I contributed towards their journey of learning and self-growth motivates me to strive harder to make a positive difference in my students' lives," she said.
Szabist Dubai Campus
Szabist comprises five campuses located in Karachi, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Larkana and Dubai (the UAE) with current student population of over 11,000. Szabist Dubai is based in Dubai International Academic City. It is the first and only Pakistani University in Dubai, and is approved and recognised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan, as a degree granting institution and is licensed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). The academic qualifications granted by this institution and certified by KHDA is recognised in Dubai by all public and private entities for all purposes.
Szabist Dubai offers undergraduate programmes: Bachelor in Business Administration, BS (Computer Science), BS (Accounting and Finance) and Postgraduate programmes: MBA, MS (Computer Science), Executive MBA, and MPM at an affordable tuition fee, while maintaining high teaching standards. Szabist is proud to offer education par excellence in the areas that are crucial for Pakistan's socioeconomic development.

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