At this Dubai school, students are taught how to clean

Students are encouraged to get involved in activities such as maintenance and cleaning, fostering a continual link to their country's cultural practices

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Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 1 Feb 2024, 3:32 PM

Last updated: Thu 1 Feb 2024, 10:54 PM

Have you heard of Dubai students regularly cleaning their school premises? These are some of the key values taught in the Japanese School in Dubai that endeavours to uphold strong connections with students’ home countries.

Children in the Japanese School, Dubai are encouraged to get involved in activities such as school maintenance and cleaning, fostering a continual link to their country's cultural practices.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on Thursday, Koichi Yokoyama, Dubai Japanese School Board and Chairman of Parents Association said, “Children cleaning the school is a very normal practice and it’s important for our culture and education. This practice is called 'souji' (cleaning). Japan is also one of the cleanest countries in the world. We believe education goes beyond introducing modern and architecturally styled buildings. Our focus is on incorporating elements of hard work, modesty, teamwork, and discipline which is crucial for our community.”

Focus on traditional curriculum

He explains in Japan, there is a tradition in which the students themselves clean their schools. For just 15 minutes at the end of the day, students use brooms, vacuums, and cloths to clean the classrooms, bathrooms, and other school spaces.

“We prioritise sustainability that extends beyond material concerns, emphasising the significance of the content ingrained in our philosophy, curriculum, and the interactions between teachers and students. This holds greater importance than any external structures,” Yokoyama added.

The Japanese School in Dubai, offering private education for boys and girls situated at Al Wasl, Dubai, is a non-profit educational institution under Dubai Japanese Association.

It caters to children aged six to 15 and was founded in April 1980 by the Dubai Consulate of Japan.

The program follows the Japanese national curriculum approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

“The school’s establishment in Dubai was aimed at addressing the requirements of Japanese expatriate families during their stay in the UAE. Currently, we have around 4,000 Japanese people living in Dubai alone. We have 360 Japanese companies based in Dubai. But they are posted here for generally three to five years only. Parents occasionally desire their children to have exposure to international schools. However, due to the eventual return to Japan, they are hesitant about potential language or educational challenges. Consequently, many prefer their children to attend Japanese schools,” said the expat who has been in Dubai for the past 18 years.

He points out that those with a long-term commitment to staying in the UAE opt for international schools to ensure seamless communication and curriculum continuity for their children.

The Japanese School which caters to around 140 students, boasts a teaching staff of 22, with teachers primarily coming from Japan. With a staff-to-student ratio of 1:6, the school maintains one of the most favourable ratios in the emirate.

The primary medium of instruction in the school is Japanese, with English and Arabic taught as additional languages.

The school that is currently rated “Good” by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) follows the practice of a regular rotation for staff appointed by the Ministry of Education in Japan.

“Our tuition fee in Grade 1 is Dh30,000 making us among the most reasonable ones as compared to other International schools in the city. Our collaboration aligns seamlessly with Dubai's visionary commitment to providing quality education in Dubai among the world’s top 10 cities, one of the objectives of Dubai Social Agenda 33.”

Transformative renovation project

Currently, the school’s distinctive feature is its pink, single-story facade. The school is equipped with standard classrooms and specialized teaching spaces, such as a gymnasium, swimming pool, science laboratories, and ICT laboratories.

Therefore, shedding light on the comprehensive renovation project that’s aimed at creating a sustainable and modern learning environment, Yokoyama emphasised, that the institution is partnering with the Sharaf Group to rebuild its learning facilities.

“Not many people know that the land where the school stands belongs to the Sharaf Group. Few are aware that the individuals who own the land on which the school is situated are Ibrahim and Sharafuddin Sharaf. We share a long-standing relationship with them, and now they aim to aid us in constructing facilities and offering broader support. The renovation initiative is scheduled to begin in 2025, including cutting-edge facilities and enhanced classrooms to create a conducive learning environment for our students.”

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