Move over Swiss, Dubai to become hub for boarding schools
Artist's impression of Swiss International Scientific School at Al Jaddaf, Dubai.
Dubai - Multilingual school aims to attract students from GCC, India and EU.
The multilingual, International Baccalaureate (IB) Swiss International Scientific School (SISD) is a project built with the aim of introducing European educational excellence in Dubai.
The school opened its doors in September 2015, and now hosts over 300 students in the primary school building. The school will offer boarding facilities from 2018.
"Once completed, the primary school building will house 1,400 pupils from ages of 3 to 11. A secondary school with 1,000 extra spaces is expected to open two years later," said head of school, Beat Sommer.
The school's concept design originates from Archilab, an architectural consultancy in Switzerland. However, Al Ahmadiah Contracting and Trading took up contracting for construction of the school. According to Serge Massoudi, Managing-Director of Al Ahmadiah Contracting, the project was very close to his heart.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Massoudi, a French-Iranian national said: What children need in a world-class boarding facility is safety and ample access to sporting facilities, which the school will offer," he said. "Children must learn to polish their own shoes and wash their clothes. Only boarding schools inculcate strong habits in them."
Massoudi went on to say that Dubai can easily become the next hub for boarding schools because it is a more centralised location and people don't have to travel as far as Europe or the United States to educate their children. He added: "I can see parents from nearby GCC countries, Turkey, India, Middle East, and even EU countries coming to Dubai as a destination for boarding."
One of the most ambitious educational projects in the UAE, once completed in 2018, the school will be 630,000 square feet of academic excellence, according to Massoudi.
However, the school's most unique offering is the multilingual programme. Pupils can choose between and English-French option, and an English-German option.
School founder Omar Danial is a Swiss national who believes that a multilingual schooling assures that children are global citizens.
"By the time a student reaches Grade 6, he or she will have become proficient in English, French, and German languages," said Sommer.
The school's multilingual curriculum is aimed at the country's multinational families. "Students will spend 50 per cent of their time learning in English and 50 per cent in their second chosen language of French or German," said Sommer.
"We believe that through languages, you also have access to the culture and the different ways of understanding each other," Sommer said.
Sommer added that the school will eventually look at incorporating Arabic as a primary language of teaching. Annual tuition fees range from Dh60,000 for pre-kindergarten up to Dh95,000 for Grade 6.
Beat Sommer, Head of School, Swiss International Scientific School, Dubai. Photo by Dhes Handumon