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First Chinese school opens in Dubai

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on September 1, 2020 | Last updated on September 2, 2020 at 09.27 am
First, Chinese school, opens, Dubai

(Photos by Juidin Bernarrd/Khaleej Times)

The school currently has 38 teachers. Seven of them were from Hangzhou in China.

The first Chinese school outside China was opened in Dubai on Tuesday.

It was inaugurated by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council. Welcoming the Chinese community and educators in the UAE, he later tweeted: "We welcome the opening of the first Chinese public school outside China in Dubai as a step that reflects the depth and strength of the ties of friendship and cooperation between the Republic of China and the UAE."

Inside the school, everyone was greeted with temperature checks and sanitiser dispensers lined the hallways. Pupils from Grade 1 to 5 were seen wearing masks as they sat in their classrooms, following instructions that were mostly in Mandarin.

The school currently has 38 teachers. Seven of them were from Hangzhou in China.

One of them, who didn't wish to be named, had been teaching for 31 years in her home country before coming to Dubai. She said: "I am one of the teachers who has come from Hangzhou. I am given to understand that there is a significant Chinese population in the emirate. Therefore, I have come here to teach these children my mother tongue, the Chinese language."

There were a few teachers of different nationalities, too. Stephen Keeney is one of them. "I am a PE teacher here. I've been in Spain for two years and have been in Dubai for four years now. I saw this as a good opportunity to be teaching in the first Chinese school in the UAE. I am sure it will be a new learning experience for me," he said.

During the school day, children were seen enjoying physical activity breaks in their classroom routines. Later, packed lunches were distributed by the school staff, maintaining all safety protocols.

A few students were even eager to share the experience of their first day in school - all from a distance of at least two metres. "I am very excited to come to school. I am really enjoying my day," a Grade 1 pupil said.

Expansion being planned

With 200 enrollees for this term, the Chinese school currently accommodates Year 1 to Year 5 students. However, it is planning an expansion to cover primary, junior and senior secondary classes soon.

First Chinese school opens in Dubai (KT2571292.PNG)

Yin Liping, founding principal of Chinese School Dubai, said: "The Chinese population here in Dubai is growing very fast. It's estimated that around 300,000 Chinese people are living and working here. It's been a long dream for overseas people based here to have a Chinese school offering our curriculum. So this has been a dream for long, which has finally come to fruition."

The campus can accommodate around 800 students, Yin said. "In future, we may have another (new) campus which may have a capacity of 1,800 students. We are the pioneers. I hope that we will be a good example of how to operate a good school overseas, not only in Dubai but in other countries as well."  

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