UAE's first bilingual school set to open in Dubai next month

DUBAI — The first bilingual school teaching an international curriculum in both English and Arabic in the UAE will open its doors to students this September.

By Preeti Kannan

Published: Fri 8 Aug 2008, 1:14 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:01 PM

Dar Al Marefa or the House of Knowledge, which would be adopting the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, will be the first of its kind to teach subjects in English and Arabic from September 14.

Located in Mirdiff, Dubai, the bilingual school aims to teach non-Arab speaking students Arabic and help local and Arab families retain their cultural identity, while providing them with a strong IB grounding. About 50 pupils, Arabs and expatriates, have already been admitted in the school.

Dar Al Marefa will teach Science, Mathematics and Computer Science in English, while Islamic Studies, Arabic language and Social Studies will be taught in Arabic.

Open for pupils from KGI to Grade VII initially, the school aims to integrate the Arabic curriculum of the Ministry of Education in its school to teach students, explained Deeb Abdullah, principal. Students will learn lessons in English and Arabic simultaneously unlike in other international schools.

He said, "There are expatriate families like British and those from the subcontinent, who are very keen to learn Islamic Studies. This will help non-Arabs learn Arabic, and Emirati and Arab families, who want to send their children abroad for higher studies and want a strong IB background while maintaining their national identity."

The school, which hopes to hold classes up to Grade XII in the next three years, will adopt IB's Primary Years Programme (PYP) and will apply for IB authorisation. Usually, it takes about three years to get an IB authorisation.

Teachers will be trained to plan lessons and meet academic targets in Arabic, said the principal. He added, "Dar Al Marefa has developed a set of units to be taught each year according to each year's level. The concepts help the teacher to make the classroom a stimulating and engaging place, where the child's point of view, supported by knowledge, skill, reflection and understanding, is valued and made useful."

The school will soon be equipped with classrooms with interactive whiteboards, science labs, art room, library, IT centre, music room, and health cantre. Recreational and fitness facilities will include a nutrition centre, providing nutritional snacks to ensure a healthy diet.

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