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Official UAE school calendar 2017-2018

Ruth Harron 07/11/2016 1

English Teacher Abu Dhabi

UAE school calendar

Plan your year by using our guides to upcoming public holidays in 2016 and 2017.
For winter break, students will receive a three-week holiday, and teachers two weeks. For spring break, students will have a two and a half week holiday and teachers a one and a half week holiday. Summer breaks will be the longest as usual, with students enjoying a seven-week break, with teachers receiving six weeks.

UAE calendar
UAE calendar

Plan your holidays Here is the confirmed school calendar for the next academic year

Source: Official UAE school calendar 2017-2018

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Certificates obtained in Dubai to be recognised in China

Ruth Harron 31/10/2016




Shanghai: Degrees earned in Dubai now will be verified by the Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) and the Ministry of Education in China.
Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and CSCSE have signed an agreement to enable greater levels of collaboration in higher education and student exchange, as part of ‘Dubai Week in China: Shanghai’, held recently.
“The Chinese community has contributed greatly to the growth of Dubai and we are happy this agreement builds on our relationship,” said Dr Abdullah Al Karam, director-general of KHDA, addressing more than 100 Chinese school leaders, university heads, career advisers and investors at The Langham Hotel, Xintiandi.
“International branch campuses in Dubai are known for the quality of education they provide and the multi-cultural values and skills they offer students. We look forward to welcoming more students from China to our diverse and happy city.”
On a day dedicated to innovation and learning, the excellent study and employment opportunities that a Dubai education can provide Chinese students were explored in sessions co-hosted by KHDA and Falcon and Associates. Panel discussions highlighted the importance of developing cultural intelligence and how Dubai is helping ambitious Chinese talent unlock their potential and develop into future leaders through initiatives such as Dubai Business Internships, a fully-funded programme offering outstanding graduates the opportunity to acquire business knowledge and skills through project-based modules and value-added internships at leading organisations.

KHDA signs agreement with Chinese service centre for scholarly exchange

Source: Certificates obtained in Dubai to be recognised in China

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Ruth Harron 27/10/2016 0



1991: At age 11, after a colourful life of living in Carrickfergus and Vienna, I started Carrickfergus Grammar School, N-Ireland I attended there for one year until we had news that my Dad had been asked to take up employment in The first university in UAE. This was The UAE University, in Al Ain, a small beautiful Oasis part of Abu Dhabi.

We are a family of 6. My older brother was already in England at university, so it was my Mum, Dad, older sister and younger brother that moved out to the ‘Desert’….

It took quite a bit of adjusting, we had to stay in a villa at the Hilton hotel until our house was ready, at the Hilton we were completely spoiled with buffet breakfasts, lunch and dinner and access to swimming pools, parks and beautiful sunshine on our doorstep…..

Finally the house was ready, we all moved into a marble villa, quite different from the farmhouse style we were used to. We were beginning to get ready to start school, despite the heat, we had to make sure we were culturally correct with the clothing, shoulders covered and below the knees! Not unlike school at home.

We enrolled at an International School, The International School of Cheouifat, a Lebanese system school. We had to sit a test before we could go into our age appropriate classes. We ended up getting put into ‘Special Maths’ it was called, as their level of maths was far superior to ours… Let’s just say, I tried to avoid the extra classes but it didn’t go down well.

The School day lasted from 7.30 to 4 o’clock, long days with long lunch breaks!

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Design Dubai University Set to Open

Ruth Harron 24/10/2016

Dubai University

Dubai: The UAE on Monday has announced the establishment of the first design Dubai University in the region, with a curriculum that will be jointly developed with top international institutions — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and New York’s Parson School of Design.
Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), with a capacity for 550 students, will be a private non-profit educational institution located in a 100,000-square-foot facility within the creative community at Dubai Design District (d3) and is expected to open by September 2018, it was revealed.
DIDI will offer the region’s first-ever Bachelor of Design degree in collaboration with MIT and Parsons.
The institute will set up Dubai globally as a design leader, officials said during an announcement.
The undergraduate university will offer a world class curriculum that will help create a new generation of skilled people in the region, by using design as the vehicle for change to help shape the future of civilizations and contribute to the happiness of societies.
The campus has been designed by Foster + Partners and will create a unique learning environment for students to create and showcase their innovation and creativity.

Bachelor of Design degree to be offered in collaboration with MIT and Parsons will open in September 2018

Source: Region’s first design university set to open in Dubai

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Emirates and Google promote Arabic reading

Ruth Harron 10/10/2016


Dubai: Emirates airline and Google are celebrating Arabic reading all through October in a collaboration to reach millions of smartphone users in the region and support UAE’s Year of Reading initiative.
The collaboration aims to make Arabic books more accessible for first-time online book readers and book lovers alike with discounts of up to 90 per cent on online books at the Google Play Books store, which hosts more than 5,000,000 titles.
Discounts are valid across nine countries in the Google Play Store (both in IOS and Android) for the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. This is the first such online book initiative, and the first discount of this scale in the region at the Google Play Store.
For a four-week period, Google will run its highest-ever discount on the Play Books store on more than 4,000 popular fiction, non-fiction and children’s titles in an effort to reach millions of smartphone users in the Middle East and GCC.
Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates airline and Group, said: “Our ‘Celebrating Arabic Reading’ initiative with Google aims to encourage more people to read, and try out Arabic e-books. Smartphones and tablets are increasingly a part of our daily lives, so it makes perfect sense to promote reading on these new platforms as well. People are hungry for content, especially Arabic digital content, and there isn’t a smarter investment for the future of this region than providing access to e-books to broaden the horizons of millions.”

Ronan Harris, vice-president for Large Customer Sales for Google Europe Middle East and Africa, said: “Technology has always played a pivotal role in providing people with equal access to information, and empowering them with knowledge. That’s something we’re very passionate about at Google and it’s in line with our core mission here in Mena to help promote and preserve local Arabic content on the web whether it was on YouTube, Search, Maps or Play. Through our collaboration with Emirates, we hope we can make Arabic literature more accessible and enjoyable than ever. There is so much opportunity to build the digital ecosystem here and we’re happy to have partners like Emirates make it happen.”
Emirates also commissioned the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and the Emirates Literature Foundation to help identify and curate a collection of over 50 Arabic books in the Google Play Books store that will be discounted at 90 per cent off. This curated book collection encompasses a wide variety of best-selling fiction and nonfiction titles.
New project will offer up to 90 discounts on e-books on Google Play Store

Source: Emirates and Google promote Arabic reading

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Oaktree Primary School Dubai

Ruth Harron 06/10/2016 0

Oaktree Primary School Dubai


Oaktree Primary School Dubai first opened its doors on 24th August, 2016.

Dear Parents,

Life is about belief. It is about doing what we know to be right because ours is a mission to make the world a better place; and to achieve this by working with children and their parents in order to give those children the best possible opportunity of making their world, and the world of those around them, as positive as it can be.
This is my personal belief and the belief of all at Oaktree Primary School, as we encourage every single child in our care to achieve their maximum potential by striving to achieve everything that they can in all that they do.

Your children will learn the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, but they will learn much more than that. They will learn to give of their best, be empathic, and to understand the world as a complex place built on simple principles. Your child will learn to inquire, to be inquisitive and to innovate.

Why are we different? We are different because here, at Oaktree School, we seek to create a family where your child is known as an individual, and is part of ‘the village within the city’. We know how much you love your children. It is our duty to honour that love by creating, with you, an environment where your child is special and your child achieves everything that they are capable of. We seek to cater for all by understanding that all children are different, and all have the potential to grow.

Please, come and join us. We would love to meet you to tell you more about ourselves and to find out about you and your family.


Oaktree Primary School Dubai

Christopher McDermott,

Founding Principal, Oaktree Primary School.


Interview with the principal 




What distinguishes you from other primary schools in Dubai? 
We have very reasonable fees and small class sizes, with a location in central Dubai and largely English trained teachers.

At Oaktree we believe in positive psychology and the importance of an understanding of emotional intelligence. We understand that when students are happy, they will learn better. This is part of the core beliefs by which we run our school.

What curriculum you are following?

The English National Curriculum.






In terms of admissions, how many places are still available in each class year? 

We have places available in FS One and FS Two, as well as Years One, Two, Three and Four.



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Dubai private schools generated Dh5.51bn

Ruth Harron 30/09/2016

Dubai private schools

Dubai private schools

Dubai private schools: International curriculum schools in Dubai generated around $1.5 billion (Dh5.51 billion) in revenue in 2015, which appears to be the highest globally, suggests new research presented at a school conference in Dubai.

The data was shared at the International Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) during a session on Growth Opportunities Across the GCC on Tuesday.

It shows the market revenue of schools by city for 2015, for 15 cities that experienced a three-year CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] of under five per cent to over 15 per cent.
Dubai’s revenue figure is the highest, at $1.5 billion. Abu Dhabi comes in third, at $860 million (around Dh3.15 billion). Singapore is in second place, at $881 million (around Dh3.23 billion).

Separately, the IPSEF also heard that Dubai has the most private English-medium international schools in the world, with 276 such schools, according to The International Schools Consultancy. Abu Dhabi comes in third place globally, with 154 schools.
‘Healthy growth’
Abu Dhabi and Dubai also lead in terms of student enrolment, which has risen 18 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, between 2013 and 2016 in “premium” international schools, according to IPSEF’s Tuesday presentation. Hong Kong is in third place with a comparatively low enrolment growth rate of only 10 per cent.
“The UAE is showing healthy growth in the school market. We’re expecting Saudi Arabia to follow suit,” said Arfan Esmail, educational consultant, Quality Education Holding Company.
“This is because of greater focus by parents on the quality of education — they feel the private sector is better placed to offer this.”
Esmail added that despite rising school fees compounded with a cautious economic climate, “parents’ value for education will see them willing to spend a greater proportion of their disposable income on schooling, as they view education as a long-term investment”.
In the UAE, mid-market schools are the “sweet spot” in the prevailing investment trend, said James Mullan, editor, Which School Advisor. He added that schools charging Dh30,000 to Dh45,000 per year appear to be attracting the most students.
Future trend
Speaking on Wednesday at IPSEF, Dr Abdullah Al Karam, director-general, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, said that a future trend could see Dubai schools outsourcing some aspects, such as sports, to individuals and companies. He added that similar concepts were discussed during a recent meeting about the Dubai Future Accelerators programme, which is developing ground-breaking ideas and solutions in seven key areas, including education.
Dr Al Karam said it was time to focus on radical “micro-level” solutions and services in education, starting at the classroom level, shifting the prevailing emphasis from “macro-level” developments.
“We don’t have to wait for the future to come to us. We can pull the future to here, to now, to Dubai,” he said.

Abu Dhabi-based international schools collected Dh3 15b in revenue

Source: Dubai private schools generated Dh5.51bn revenue last year

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Competition for teachers heats up in UAE

Ruth Harron 28/09/2016

Competition for Teachers

 Competition for Teachers

Dubai: Rising Competition for teachers between private international schools in the UAE is fuelling demand for quality teachers, who now expect greater pay and benefits, experts told a school conference in Dubai on Tuesday.
Addressing the International and Private School Education Forum Middle East 2016 (IPSEF), they described the UAE as a “buyer’s market” for teachers. The UAE has the highest number of private English-medium international schools in the world, with 589 such schools, according to The International Schools Consultancy.
City-wise, Dubai leads the world in most international schools, with 276 schools. This school year, Dubai added 15 new private schools — a record annual increase. Abu Dhabi comes in third place globally, with 154 schools.
Richard Gaskell, director for international schools at ISC, said with the school count rising rapidly in the UAE and globally, the “biggest challenge is, where are schools going to find enough highly skilled English-speaking teachers?”
The supply of talented teachers is failing to meet demand in the UAE and globally as well, said Diane Jacoutot, managing director, Edvectus, UK.

What’s more, according to a new survey of over 530 UAE-based teachers by Which School Advisor, 43 per cent of teachers are “actively seeking another job”, while 73 per cent are “considering leaving for another country if a better offer comes up”.
James Mullan, editor, Which School Advisor, said: “It’s a buyer’s market for teachers in the UAE… And their number one issue is cash, with 80 per cent of survey respondents saying they will stay if they have better salaries.”
Housing now also ranks high on the list of UAE teachers’ expectations, a panel at the event discussed.
Taaleem, one of the UAE’s biggest school groups, recently started providing almost 200 teachers with free apartments. Participating in the panel, Rowan Bell, head of human resources at Taaleem, said schools, especially new ones, should be “realistic” and demonstrate “flexibility” while hiring.
Schools can no longer afford to offer “only Dh8,000 and still want quality teachers, if the average pay is Dh13,000”, said Jonathan Price, managing director, Eteach International. He pointed out that fewer teachers are leaving the major teachers’ source market for UAE schools, such as the UK, which is offering incentives to retain its teachers, reversing a “brain-drain”. Such incentives, which teachers in the UAE also expect, include career promotions and professional development.
The panel said UAE schools have increasingly started offering “family plans” or packages for teachers that cover health, visa, and schooling costs for their children.
Kalthoom Al Beloushi, executive director of educational development at Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority, told Gulf News that an upcoming teacher’s licensing project in the UAE will “create an opportunity for more teachers to be part of the education sector”. She added that figures indicate teachers are coming to Dubai in sufficient numbers.

Rising number of schools and expectations from teachers creates buyer s market

Source: Competition for teachers heats up in UAE

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UAE radio station for children helps shape a mature outlook

Ruth Harron 26/09/2016

UAE radio station


UAE radio station

Dubai: Inside Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children, where youngsters are taught to be creative, a UAE radio station is giving a voice to children by allowing them to express themselves and be a huge influence to others of their age.
Pearl FM, the region’s only children’s radio station, which is broadcast in Dubai on the 102.0 frequency band, has come a long way since it was launched in 2014, reaching hundreds of thousands of children and their parents with topics related to every aspect of a child’s life, from health, safety, society, culture, education, and, most recently, the rights of children.
The radio station, which parents have described as a ‘ground breaking’ initiative, is being seen as the ideal platform for children with an array of talents to connect with other listeners their age and positively influence their life.
A number of talented children have been approaching the centre to volunteer in live shows or have been invited as voice over artists to record tips on safety or conservation, or even to create sound bytes on the occasion of Eid.
Radio presenter Hussain Al Atoli, who handles a newly launched show called ‘The Talk’, which focuses on spreading awareness about children’s rights and the laws that protect children, told Gulf News that the Pearl FM has helped give children more confidence, nurtured their hidden talents, and allowed parents to grasp what their children are passionate about.

“Once a child gets to hear their own voice over the radio, their face expression changes. They instantly become more confident and feel like they want to contribute more. Many have incredible storytelling talents, which only appeared after they recorded for the radio,” Al Atoli said.
Broadcast 24 hours a day in English, Pearl FM, targeting mostly listeners below the age of 12 and also parents for some shows, ensures the language on shows is children-friendly and the live shows can both entertain and benefit children, Al Atoli said.
Speaking about his show, which invites experts and specialists to discuss issues relating to the social, educational, health and legal aspects of a child’s life, Al Atoli said it has been specifically created to target parents and guardians and raise awareness mostly on the cultural and social rights of children.
“Our society is not very well aware of the laws that protect children in the UAE. Over the years, the Child Law in the UAE has expanded to protect the child in almost all circumstances. In the show, we raise interesting topics about the laws that protect children at school, at home and when seeking medical help, for example.”
The show, which is broadcast three times a week between 2pm and 3pm, has been designed to make child laws understood in a simple way and easily communicated to the audience, he said. “We have also collaborated with a prominent law firm, which sends law experts over to the programme, to discuss and explain the fines and punishments for those who break different laws under the Child Law.”
Other pressing issues related to either the health of children and psychological challenges that children face as a result of parental divorce are also discussed on the show. Child abuse, bullying and cyber bullying were other important topics discussed. “On Sunday the show focuses mainly on the laws protecting children. On Tuesday, we have topics on health and psychology of a child, while on Thursday the show is more casual, inviting parents to speak about various topics about children that relate to listeners.”
He said a society that becomes well aware of the Child Law will ensure children are better protected.
What children think
Two out of the many young radio stars at Pearl FM who took part in live shows and voice-over recordings said the radio station allowed them to share their thoughts on topics that matter to them.
Mishal Faraz, 9, from India said: “I like to spread awareness about the environment and it was wonderful going on air knowing so many children would listen to my tips. I’ve shared my thoughts on food wastage, reading and other important topics. In the future, I want to continue in this field.”
She said she also loved the supportive environment provided by the radio station.
Oscar Merit, 11, from France said his interest in radio started in school where he launched the school’s radio for the first time. “I’ve been invited to the radio many times to do some voice-overs and recordings. I did not feel nervous, instead I was happy and confident to be on air.”
Faraz’s mother, Iram Rizvi said the experience being on air “boosts the morale and confidence of a child”.
“It’s a very brave initiative and teaches children many lessons. As mothers, we used to worry about what children listen to but now we feel at ease.”
There are two other main programmes on the radio that appeal to children the most, Al Atoli said. “Before going to school, thousands of children tune in for the ‘The Breakfast Club’ show presented by Saif Ali and after school for the ‘Hits and Homework’ show presented by Annah Jacob. Many children also call the radio as they tune in.
“We also have 17 different recorded segments broadcasted throughout the day with short historical facts, conservation and road safety tips including a Naps and Nursery segment for mothers with toddlers. Popular songs are also carefully selected before [they are] broadcasted and are filtered when needed.”
The station currently has over 200,000 listeners and will be launched in Arabic on a different frequency, according to Al Atoli, making it the first Arabic language station for children in the region.

Pearl FM keeps its young audience clued in on everything from their rights to conservation to culture

Source: UAE radio station for children helps shape a mature outlook

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UAE has most International schools globally

Ruth Harron 23/09/2016

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International Schools

Dubai: The UAE has retained its position as the country with the most number of English-medium International schools, with 589 such schools, The International Schools Consultancy (ISC) said on Wednesday.
Last year, the UAE had 511 international schools — enough to place it on top of the list in 2015. Going by city, Dubai leads the world for international schools, with 276 such schools. More than a dozen different national curriculums are taught in Dubai schools.
City-wise, Abu Dhabi comes in third place with 154 schools, followed by Doha with 142.
There is a huge demand for private international schools in the UAE as most of the population comprises expats, who come from around 200 countries.
The data was released by the ISC, a global market intelligence and research firm focused on international English-speaking schools.

The breakdown is part of a report that will be presented in full at the upcoming International Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) Middle East on September 27-28 at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai.
Richard Gaskell, director for international schools at the ISC, will present the latest data on international school growth in the Middle East, plus a detailed analysis on the employment of teachers at international schools in the region.
At the start of the new school year, the ISC report showed the total number of K-12 English-medium international schools worldwide at 8,489, with about 1,504 such schools located in the Middle East, which remains the largest sub-region for international schools in the world.
Following the UAE, other countries which figured in the top 10 include China (550), Pakistan (455), India (408) and Spain (353).
Saudi Arabia and Japan were at sixth and seventh place with 243 each, followed by Egypt and Brazil at eight and ninth place with 191 each, and Indonesia at 10th with 190.
“These impressive numbers only confirm the continuing growth the private, international school education throughout the Gulf region,” said Rhona Greenhill, co-founder, IPSEF. “That said, the business landscape is changing and this presents a number of challenges for private sector stakeholders which we hope to address at the forthcoming forum where we have invited experts on how the private, international schools sub-sector can continue its growth trajectory.”
Overall, the ISC calculates that more than 4.3 million students are now being educated at over 8,200 international schools worldwide. By 2026, enrolment is projected to reach 8.7 million.
“With the international and private school markets continuing to grow, and as competition increases, it is increasingly critical that schools and investors planning to open new operations in education develop strategies for success. IPSEF Middle East hopes to provide a unique reference point for all those involved in the financing, planning, design, delivery and management of a new school project,” said Greenhill. Further information on the conference agenda and registration details can be found at
Top 10 countries with international schools
UAE: 589 schools
China: 550
Pakistan: 455
India: 408
Spain: 353
Saudi Arabia: 243
Japan: 243
Egypt: 191
Brazil: 191
Indonesia: 190
Source: The International Schools Consultancy

Country retains top position with 589 English-medium international schools

Source: UAE has most international schools globally

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