Renaming of grades leave parents foxed

ABU DHABI - A circular issued by a private school in Dubai changing the nomenclature of their grades one year upwards have left parents and students confused.

By Anjana Sankar

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Published: Tue 26 Jul 2005, 11:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:55 PM

According to the circular sent to all parents by the Emirates International School, KG 1 will become KG 2, KG 2 will become Grade 1 and so will do the rest of the grades i.e. move upwards by a year, starting from the academic year 2005-2006.

Though the school claims that the renaming would not affect students in any way as there won't be any additional year, the Ministry of Education has termed the circular "illegal" and "contradictory" to all ministerial norms.

But the school, which follows IGCSE and IB Geneva curriculum, maintains that the decision was in the wake of the education ministry's direction to conduct the IGCSE examinations in Grade 11 rather than in Grade 10, and continue with the International Baccalaureate (IB) in the last two years.

When asked to comment on this argument, Naima Al Aryani, Director of Foreign Private Schools, told Khaleej Times that first of all, the school had violated circular No. 12/1 dated 30 September, 2003, and allowed its students to appear for O Level in Grade 10 and not in Grade 11 in the year 2003-2004.

"Moreover, the school's circular is in violation of the ministry's circular No. 13 dated 18/5/2004 which states that system transfer is not allowed after grade 9 (from grade 10 onwards). They are transferring students of IGCSE grade 10 to the IB programme grade 11 without taking any exemption," said Naima.

According to her, the circular sent by the school would lead to a lot of complications as students will not be aligned to the ministry and zonal registration records. This will lead to non-attestation of certificates as the grades will not be parallel in all the school and official records.

"The ministry does not permit change of system after grade 9 and no two certificates of different systems will be accepted by us," she underlined.

A copy of the circular which is in the possession of Khaleej Times, reads: "We are presently studying the same curriculum material in the IGCSE. However, the names of our grades are different - for example, our grade 9 (first year of IGCSE) uses the same texts and course as other schools use in the Year 10 (first year of IGCSE). Students write the IGCSE examinations in Grade 10 (age 15+) while the same IGCSE exams are being written by other schools in their grade 11 (age 15+)."

"These students then finish the A Levels in Grades 12 and 13, graduating at the age of 17+ with university entrance. After changing our grading names, students will spend the last two years studying the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and will graduate with university entrance at the age of 17+."

The school officials were not available for comment.

However, Naima clarified that renaming the grade according to the age of the students was not acceptable because age is not the criterion to name the grades. "Article 37 of the Federal By-law No. 28,1999, dated 11/7/01, mentions an upper age limit for each grade," she said.

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