Abu Dhabi: Summer break is a great opportunity for schoolchildren to curl up with a good book and strengthen their reading skills further, school leaders in the capital said. Even in the digital age, there is much room for holding and reading an actual book, they stressed, adding that children can however choose to read up on the topics and subjects they find most engaging.
With 2016 declared as the Year of Reading in the UAE, many schools have already taken measures to encourage the positive habit among their pupils and parents can use the summer holidays to encourage their offspring to spend some hours every day reading.
“There is no doubt that the more children read, the better they will be able to write and learn,” Paul Abraham, principal at the Virginia Private School, told Gulf News. The American curriculum school currently enrols children from kindergarten to Grade 6.
“This year, we established a reading programme that had children regularly borrow books from libraries and discuss what they had read afterwards. So as pupils head home for the summer break, we are encouraging them to keep up the habit. Once they are back, we will have long, fruitful discussions and organise presentations about what they have learnt,” Abraham added,
Brandan Law, headmaster at Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi that enrols about 700 pupils and follows the English National Curriculum, said the school would also continue with its year-long programme to encourage reading.
Reading is part of the daily fabric of life at Cranleigh. As a further push, we set up an initiative to have the pupils take selfies that show them reading in a variety of places. We received really interesting photos, including some with children reading at the beach or underwater,” he said.
“So we have told pupils to continue reading wherever they can during the summer, and take some selfies while they’re at it. Once they are back from the break, we will have a competition for the most unusual places they have read in, and also track the variety of places where Cranleigh pupils have immersed themselves into a book,” Law added.
Dr Rishi Padegaonkar, principal at Indian curriculum school Bright Riders, encouraged parents to discuss the books their children read with them. What impressed them about the plot? Which character did they find most appealing and why? Probing aspects such as these will help children to think about what they have read.
“[It] helps children internalise what they learn from their reading, make the activity more fun and also help them absorb the values and lessons the book delivers. In the digital age where screens capture children’s interest quicker than books, such discussion is necessary,” Dr Padegaonkar said.
With regard to book recommendations, the leaders added that children should be able to follow their own specific interests.
“I don’t think we should be hung up on getting children to read a specific set of books. A simple activity outdoors can perhaps interest a child in nature, and this might be the most engaging topic for them to read up on,” Law said.
Abraham added that some books are timeless classics, like the ‘Curious George’ series or the ‘Dr Seuss’ books, and they still engage today’s children.
School leaders encourage children to continue reading during their summer break in the Year of Reading
Source: Get kids to curl up with a book this summer
DP World grants Emirates Youth Council Dh367,000Dubai: Global trade enabler DP World has given a grant of $100,000 (Dh367,000) to the Emirates Youth Council to help Emirati youth shape a bright and sustainable future for the UAE and contribute to achieving UAE Vision 2021.
The announcement of the grant was made at the first Strategic Youth Circle organised by the Dubai Youth Council, the executive arm of the Emirates Youth Council and hosted by DP World earlier this week.
The grant aims to empower local talent and build a next generation of UAE’s leaders.
Minister of State for Youth Shamma Suhail Faris Al Mazroui, said: “The UAE government seeks to enable our young people and provide them with all possible opportunities to participate in the development of the country and in achieving the goals of UAE vision 2021.”
She commended DP World’s backing of the Youth Council adding that it is a notable example of how leading businesses are major supporters of young people playing a vital role in shaping a bright and sustainable future.
The Strategic Youth Circle, which was held under the theme of ‘Emirati Youth Strategy: Enabled Youth, Sustainable Future’, provided participants a platform to express their views on three major topics — expectations of the national Youth Strategy, how it will serve their future needs and the role of public and private organisations in activating long-term youth participation.
The structure of new strategic plans, challenges facing today’s youth and factors that will enable them to take an active role in shaping the future of the country were also discussed, including the most effective solutions to major issues faced by Emirati youth and the initiatives they would want the government to launch.
Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, DP World Group chairman and CEO, said one the main objectives of youth councils is to create a communications platform between young people, government and business, to get to know their aspirations and involve them in the decision-making processes.
“The nature of work in our sector is changing like never before and this grant is a reflection of the trust we have in young people to shape the future of world trade. We believe in creating the future, now and we’re working towards building a pool of trained and qualified talent to drive innovation and service excellence in our industry,” he said.
“We have a 37,000-strong international workforce and are very diverse with locations across six continents. We have maintained our focus on training and the development of nationals to equip them with the tools for success. DP World is great place for them to grow and achieve their full potential,” he added.
Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, DP World vice-chairman, said DP World’s involvement goes beyond financial support and will include passing on its industry experience and knowledge to the leaders of tomorrow.
“Undergraduate and postgraduate students will have the opportunity to learn what happens at the centre of world trade with training programmes and internships at DP World Head Office and across our regions,” he said.
The grant aims to empower local talent and build the next generation of UAE s leaders
Source: DP World grants Emirates Youth Council Dh367,000
Abu Dhabi: Their faces gleaming, a total of 150 high-performing students strode up to the stage to collect their certificates. They were feted in the capital on Wednesday for topping the Grade 12 exams under the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE) curriculum for the 2015-2016 school year.
The ceremony was held at the Emirates Palace Hotel, and was graced by Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“Given all the accolades we are receiving, I am happy I put in the effort and achieved these grades,” Razan Al Kaabi, Emirati topper in the Science stream, told Gulf News. Al Kaabi, who graduated from Al Shifa Bint Abdullah Girls School in Sharjah, scored 99.2 per cent.
Maryam Al Kindi, who scored 98.4 per cent in the Science stream, was also delighted.
“My family is so proud of me, and today, I received the prize with all of my eight siblings and my parents present. It is a special moment,” said the 18-year-old Emirati topper from Al Itqan School in Fujairah.
Abdul Rahman Al Amadi, who graduated from Mohammad Bin Rashid School in Dubai, was overwhelmed.
“I can’t find words to express my joy. This is a motivation for me to do more, and to take responsibility for the next generation. I want to study chemical engineering abroad. For today, my family is really happy, especially my mother,” he said .
Other top education officials were also present, including Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, and Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council.
As reported by Gulf News last month, more than 33,300 appeared for the Grade 12 MoE curriculum final exams this year. Results were released earlier this month, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, personally called the four toppers and informed them of their grades on June 15. They were Syrian pupil Hajar Al Qutaifan, who stood first overall with 99.9 per cent, Egyptian Israa Ebrahim, who came first in the Literature stream with 99.3 per cent, Razan Al Kaabi, Emirati Science stream topper with 99.2 per cent and Wafa Al Yamahi, Emirati topper in the Literature Stream who scored 99 per cent.
All pupils from across the UAE who scored 98 per cent or more, as well as three special needs pupils who attained 95 per cent or more, were then recognised for their achievements on Wednesday. They received certificates of appreciation, and cash grants of Dh20,000 each. A number of scholarships at UAE-based universities were also announced.
According to Emirates News Agency (WAM), the high-performing pupils were last week invited to a reception by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The reception was held at Al Bateen palace, and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed said that the pupils were role models.
Later in the week, the toppers also attended an iftar banquet held in their honour by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid at Zabeel Palace in Dubai.
Toppers were awarded Dh20 000 each and certificates
Source: Grade 12 top performers honoured
A scheme to replace older teaching staff with Newly-Qualified Teachers N-Ireland can begin the education minister has said.
Under the plans, only teachers who have graduated since 2012 will be eligible to apply for the jobs.
The Investing in the Teaching Workforce programme aims to allow teachers over the age of 55 to retire.
It was announced in 2015, but delayed due to lack of agreement over the criteria, including the definition of the term newly-qualified.
A number of experienced teachers in temporary posts had expressed concern that they would not be eligible to apply for the jobs.
The scheme will now begin in September 2016 and run for the 2016-17 academic year.
The Department of Education said that up to 120 teachers over 55 who had expressed an interest would now be allowed to retire in 2017.
It also said it would spend £8m allowing those teachers to go.
Schools will then be required to replace them with a teacher who has qualified since 2012.
Previous education minister John O’Dowd originally wanted to spend £33m on the scheme, which would have enabled 500 teachers to retire and be replaced.
But revised figures were announced after a meeting of the Northern Ireland Executive on Wednesday.
The current minister, Peter Weir, said that some teaching graduates would be disappointed at the 2012 cut-off.
“This is very good news for those recently graduated teachers who are unable to find permanent teaching positions,” he said.
“This scheme will help to refresh the teaching workforce and share employment opportunities fairly between the generations.
“Whilst I realise that this will be disappointing for graduates who are outside the criteria, without this scheme these employment opportunities would not exist.”
The scheme will run for the 2016-17 school year on a pilot basis, but further funding may then be sought to extend it.
Top Dubai schools can opt out of inspections
New Knowledge and Human Development Authority option involves self-evaluation and partnerships between schools
School principals at the launch of the abundance group.Image Credit: Supplied
Dr Abdulla Al Karam interacting with school principals during the announcement of differentiated inspection cyImage Credit: Supplied
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Published: 19:21 June 27, 2016 Gulf News
Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter
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Dubai: ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Very Good’ Dubai schools will be allowed to opt out of the regular inspections if they choose a “differentiated inspection” based on self-evaluation and sharing excellence with other schools, it was announced on Monday.
The option is part of a new initiative of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), whose Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) rates schools Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Acceptable, Weak and Very Weak, based on annual inspections.
The KHDA discussed the arrangement with school principals during a meeting on Sunday regarding the Abundance Group initiative.
For the first time since inspections began in 2008, Outstanding and Very Good schools who choose to participate in the initiative will be given the option of a differentiated inspection based on self-evaluation, “allowing them to focus their resources on giving back to other schools”, the KHDA said.
Out of the 149 schools inspected, there are currently 16 outstanding and 13 very good schools.
New Knowledge and Human Development Authority option involves self-evaluation and partnerships between schools
The Abundance Group project will see “mutually beneficial, long-term learning partnerships established between schools”.
It is understood that high-achieving schools will share their expertise in various areas, such as language skills or prudent management, with schools that stand to gain from such practices.
Sir Christopher Stone, Chief Education Officer, GEMS Education, said: “The KHDA’s Abundance Group initiative is an innovative programme that will help Dubai’s schools continue to improve through greater collaboration. We at GEMS will support any initiative that works to improve the education sector, in support of the UAE National Agenda, Dubai Future Agenda and the overarching Dubai Expo 2020 theme of ‘connecting minds, creating the future.”
More details are expected to be announced at a later stage. Schools wishing to participate in Abundance Group projects will be invited to attend a “design-thinking session” at the start of the next academic year in September.
Meanwhile, self-evaluation has been part of the inspection system since the beginning. All schools have been required to submit a Self-Evaluation Form and School Improvement Plan with supporting documents and evidence.
Source: Top Dubai schools can opt out of inspections
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Emirati students seek a headstart in space race
American aerospace firm Lockheed Martin strikes deal with UAE Space Agency for four-month training programme
Source: Emirati students seek a headstart in space race
. firm Lockheed Martin is teaming up with the UAE Space Agency to help aspiring UAE students enter the realm of international space exploration.
In an announcement on Sunday, Lockheed Martin said it had inked an agreement with UAE space officials to launch a “comprehensive dual-track space training programme for students and early career professionals in space fundamentals.”
No start date was given nor were figures outlining how many Emirati students would enrol in the new training programme.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company with an employee roster of more than 125,000 around the world.
The firm’s space-related business ventures are vast with Lockheed Martin reporting $9.1 billion (Dh33.4 billion) in space system sales in 2015 “which include space launch, commercial satellites, government satellites and strategic missiles lines of business”.
Space system sales represented roughly a quarter of the firm’s total $46.1 billion in 2015 sales.
Robert S. Harward, Chief Executive Lockheed Martin UAE, said on Sunday that his firm is committed to helping UAE bolster its human capital in the aerospace sector.
“We’re committed to working together with the UAE Space Agency to execute their national priorities and space ambitions. We are excited to help develop the UAE’s most important resource: the human potential that will power the country into space,” said Harward in a statement.
“This programme reflects our support for this sector of vital importance to the UAE. Lockheed Martin has been at the forefront of space exploration technology since the beginning, and we’re deploying all of our expertise from around the world to encourage and train the UAE space explorers of tomorrow.”
Auction for Reading Nation project will be held on June 21 in Dubair
Dubai: Dubai Arabian Horse Stud, a leading stud for pure Arabian horses, has announced that it will put up an Arabian mare for sale at the Reading Nation charity auction at Madinat Jumeirah on June 21.
Reading Nation was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on the first day of Ramadan. It aims to provide five million books to children in refugee camps and underprivileged students in schools across the world.
Next week’s auction will be held to support the drive under the directions of Shaikh Mohammad, who is providing some of the items from his collection.
The auction will also feature De Lamar, a one-year-old mare of pure Arabian breed. De Lamar is the daughter of Fa El Rasheem, a champion winning horse.
Mohammad Al Tawhidi, director general, Dubai Arabian Horse Stud, said: “Our participation in the campaign is inspired by our commitment to enhancing the lives of underprivileged people in the country and the wider region. We are proud to be part of the campaign that will have a positive impact on the lives of tens of thousands of children all over the world and contribute to improving their future and the future of their societies and nations.”
Auction for Reading Nation project will be held on June 21 in Dubai
Source: Reading Nation auction to feature Arabian horse
Dubai: Two universities in the UAE were listed among top 10 universities in the Arab world.
According to the list issued by Quacquarelli Symonds, UAE University is the top university in the country and is the sixth best university in the Arab world and American University of Sharjah is ranked seventh. Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals is ranked first on the Quacquarelli Symonds’ list, American University of Beirut is second, and Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University third.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz University and the American University in Cairo were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. University of Jordan was eighth, Qatar University was ninth and Cairo University was 10th.
It is worth noting that a total of 10 Emirati universities featured among top 50 list of universities in the Arab world. University of Sharjah, which was ranked 21 in the 2015 list, moved up to rank 19 in 2016, while Zayed University rose from rank 22 in 2015 to 20 in 2016. The biggest leap in rankings for an Emirati university was achieved by the Ajman University of Science and Technology, which was ranked at 64 in 2015 and is now ranked 44.
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals ranked first in Quacquarelli Symonds list
Source: Two UAE universities among top 10 in Arab world
Teachers in Dubai: As part of the Ramadan ‘Reading Nation’ campaign, LuLu Group on Wednesday announced a contribution of Dh2 million to provide 200,000 books to refugee camps and schools around the world.
The campaign, launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will continue until the 19th day of Ramadan (June 24), which coincides with Zayed Humanitarian Day.
The goal of the campaign is to provide five million books to students-in-need in refugee camps and schools around the Arab and Islamic world.
Yousef Ali MA, Chairman, LuLu Group, said: “This is a great humanitarian initiative launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed and will certainly help build our future generations and nurture their minds and the souls. I am honoured and proud to associate with the Reading Nation campaign, which I am confident will create a global impact in spreading knowledge among underprivileged children.”
The latest contribution means the corporate support for the campaign has reached at least Dh13 million.
LuLu Group donation to provide 200 000 books to refugee camps and schools
Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al Gurg said: “We appreciate and commend the LuLu Group for its support and contribution to the Reading Nation campaign. The Group has consistently reinforced the various humanitarian initiatives launched by the UAE and led the way as a proactive corporate enabler that encourages private sector companies in the country to give back to the community that has shaped their prosperity.”
In the campaign, two million books will be provided to children and students in refugee camps. Also, 2,000 school libraries around the Arab and Islamic world will be supplied with two million books. Additionally, the campaign will support the educational programmes of Emirati philanthropic organisations abroad and donate a further one million books to this cause.
Source: Reading Nation drive receives Dh2m