Principals to boost moral education in schools

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Principals to boost moral education in schools
Photo by Juidin Bernarrd

Dubai - The Moral Education curriculum is mainly aimed at encouraging students to be forward-looking


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Mon 13 Mar 2017, 5:18 PM

Last updated: Mon 13 Mar 2017, 7:22 PM

Close to 1,500 school principals and administrators from various schools across the country attended the inaugural UAE Principals Symposium on Monday to talk about "moral education as a pathway to a more inclusive and equitable society."
In his opening address, UAE Minister of Education Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi challenged the school leaders "to boost moral education to leverage the educational system and protect the students from all potential threats surrounding them."
The Moral Education curriculum is mainly aimed at encouraging students to be forward-looking, creative and respectful to everyone by creating a strong foundation on ethics, tolerance, civic duty and cultural diversity.
It was launched in October last year and has been piloted in 19 schools of diverse curricula and nationalities in January. Full implementation will be in September this year, in all schools nationwide.
The curriculum is based on the four pillars of character and morality, cultural studies, individual and community, and civic duties. It has been designed as a progressive series of 65 units that will be taught over a six-week period through classes, schools activities and cultural events, for all students from Grades 1 to Grade 12.
The curriculum was created by the Moral Education Committee which which includes the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, The Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi Education Council, the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority and the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. "The new Moral Education curriculum represents a true milestone in education," Al Hammadi said. "We are united in our commitment to prepare our youth to lead happy, healthy and productive lives while contributing to the greater good of a sustainable society."
Al Hammadi also called the Moral Education curriculum as the 'minaret' of the youth. "Never before has one curriculum represented such tremendous diversity and rich content to be so relevant to the future well-being of students of all nationalities and all ages," he pointed out.
Jameela Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education, added: "We are putting the principals front and centre as the champions of our young people. They are in a unique position to engage teachers, students and parents and mobilise them around a programme that fosters universally relevant values of good citizenship."
"With Moral Education, we are empowering our nation's youth to develop their own character, understand and cherish their unique identity and individuality and promote respect of cultural diversity," Al Muhairi underlined.
One of the pilot schools which first implemented the new curriculum was The Philippine School (TPS) in Abu Dhabi. Speaking to Khaleej Times, TPS principal Jonathan Esguerra, said: "We implemented one of the pillars - character and morality - five weeks ago and our initial assessment was that it enhanced our existing values education programme."
"We did not have any difficulty in implementing it. But what made the new moral education curriculum more relevant is that it cuts across cultural boundaries, especially in UAE which is a highly diverse country," Esguerra explained. "The programme sets a global perspective and tackles cultural differences and respects diversity without losing one's national identity," he added.
Esguerra said another pillar (cultural heritage) will be implemented in their school after the spring break.
Four pillars of moral education
1. Character and morality - builds the foundation of ethics and responsibility and encourages students to strengthen their sense of morality
2. The individual and the community - outlines the role of the individual in society to think of the common good
3. Civic studies - familiarises students with the structure and function of the government and their rights as citizens or residents of the UAE
4. Cultural Studies - introduces students to the broader ideas of culture; the importance of preserving history, and the value of appreciating the universal cultural legacy

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