Abu Dhabi rolls out new school model

The Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has made major changes in Cycle 2 (Grades 6 to 9) classes as it rolls out the new school model (NSM) to middle grades starting with Grade 6 in the next academic year.


Olivia Olarte-Ulherr

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Published: Tue 23 Apr 2013, 8:47 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Feb 2023, 2:18 PM

These include the introduction of a new subject ‘Integrated Social Studies’; combining health and physical education into one; termination of ICT subject; increasing the Science period by two, reducing the Arabic period by one and incorporating that into Social Studies which will be taught in Arabic language and focusing on national identity.

According to Dr. Karima Al Mazroui, Adec’s Curriculum Division manager, the Integrated Social Studies content will include History, Geography, Social Studies, National Education, Economics, Psychology, Sociology and Career Guidance. And this will be delivered three periods per week.

Meanwhile, each of the basic subjects — Arabic Language, English, Mathematics and Science — will be taught for six periods a week.

On increasing the Science subjects, Dr Al Mazroui said this is meant to keep Adec schools in line with international standards.

“We did some benchmarking with other developed countries and we found out that we have fewer periods,” she said.

In addition, the Adec hopes that this would stimulate interest among students and encourage them to get into the science track, which will contribute to the creation of a knowledge-based society.

On information and communications technology (ICT), teachers who previously taught the subject will transition into the role of e-learning facilitator.

“They will help the teacher put lessons together ... so the role of the teacher will be modified but they will be there when needed to carry on a new system that will be implemented soon,” said Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Adec director general.

He disclosed that a plan is afoot to integrate technology in classroom through a virtual learning system.

According to the Adec NSM implementation plan, the new school model will be rolled out to the whole Cycle 2 by 2013-2014 if the teachers and students showed readiness to assimilate the new curriculum.

However, an assessment carried out by the Council showed that “results did not show the readiness of teacher and students for the whole cycle, that’s why we decided to go grade by grade,” said Dr Al Khaili.

The NSM will be implemented to Grade 6 in 102 public schools across the emirate starting next academic year.

The assessment used for teacher readiness to teach in English were IELTS; the Cambridge Assessment, an online English placement test covering reading/use of English and listening; and the teacher performance appraisal for the past year.

Dr Mugheer said that those found ‘capable’ were moved to teach in Grade 6 and the rest underwent professional development programme.

“We need to train our teachers in Math, Science and English until they are ready to be re-deployed again,” he told reporters on Monday.

The NSM, which was first implemented in 2010-2011 to Kindergarten till Grade 3 focuses on developing the students’ learning experience, teachers’ teaching capability and in enhancing the learning environment.

Benchmarked against countries with the best early childhood education system including Australia, US, UK and Finland, the initial plan was to fully integrate NSM into the public education system by 2015-2016.


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