Hot topics

A round-up of the latest education news and events from across the UAE and beyond

UAE astronauts address Dubai students

UAE astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi wowed a packed auditorium of wide-eyed students when they gave an inspiring talk at GEMS Al Barsha National School, Dubai. Students had an opportunity to meet Hazzaa as he highlighted the UAE’s space endeavours, opened up about his aspirations and detailed how his life has changed since becoming a national hero.
Hazzaa became the first Emirati in space when he returned to Earth following an eight-day mission aboard the International Space Station in October last year. Today, his story serves as tremendous inspiration for youth in the UAE looking to achieve quantum leaps in the area of space exploration.
The UAE’s exceptional achievements in the space sector are a clear sign that the future path of the nation is based on a robust scientific foundation. With the rise of the space and aviation sectors, it is now more essential than ever to give young people a head start. Accordingly, GEMS Education recently launched five specialist Centres of Excellence aimed at blurring the traditional boundaries of school, university and employment, and creating a new pathway for students to learn and rapidly progress in identified areas of importance. One of these Centres, based at GEMS International School – Al Khail, focuses on aviation, aeronautics and space. Working in these sectors is no longer just a dream; it is becoming a reality for more and more young people.

Teachers win big in GEMS Rewards-Emirates NBD competition

GEMS Rewards, an exclusive rewards programme for the GEMS Education community, has announced the winners of a competition held in partnership with banking group Emirates NBD. The competition was launched during GEMS Awareness Day, an annual event held to introduce new teaching staff to the organisation as well as to the many opportunities available through partners such as Emirates NBD. The prize giveaway was open to all new GEMS Education teachers who opened an account with the Dubai-based bank. Prizes included a brand-new Toyota RAV4 as well as iPads and smartphones.
Ershad Ahmed, Head of Sponsorships and Partnerships at GEMS Education, said: “We are continually looking to raise the profile of teachers. Through the GEMS Rewards programme, we are not only making quality education accessible for parents and students, but also supporting teachers and helping all stakeholders achieve significant savings.” Accessed by families and faculty across the UAE, GEMS Rewards has facilitated a host of lifestyle and retail opportunities through thousands of family-focused offers and benefits, as well as savings amounting to AED60 million since its launch in 2017.

Dubai girls’ school introduces bespoke learning programme Design Engineer Construct

For the first time in Dubai, GEMS Al Barsha National School for Girls (NSG) has introduced Design Engineer Construct (DEC), an accredited learning programme for secondary school students. The programme aims to create and inspire the next generation of Built Environment professionals. NSG is also the First Educcate Global School to be delivering a DEC programme for girls. The new DEC Learning Programme is supported by key partners and professional bodies from architecture, engineering and construction, including the Institution of Civil Engineers and Heriot Watt University. Recently, Bentley Systems announced the new global partnership with Class of Your Own, the award-winning UK-based Secondary school STEM education provider and creator of the exciting DEC learning programme.
Alison Watson MBE HonFCInstCES, Chief Executive – Class of Your Own Limited said: “There are some amazing professional women already working in Dubai who are shaping the future of UAE design, engineering and construction. NSG students need inspirational role models if the UAE is to improve its low percentage of females in the industry.” Michelle Forbes, the principal of NSG, said: “We are proud to bring this first-of-its kind tailored learning programme, Design Engineer Construct, to Dubai. DEC offers all learners embedded opportunities to become independent enquirers, creative thinkers, reflective learners, team workers, self-managers and effective participants.”

Eco-Schools Green Flag

GEMS Al Barsha National School for Girls (NSG) has achieved the distinction of securing the prestigious Eco-Schools Green Flag award for excellence in environmental education and action-based learning. By creating opportunities for students to understand, act and commit towards shaping a sustainable future, the school is nurturing a generation of environmentally conscious young girls, who can go on to make an indelible impact on national and worldwide efforts to create a more sustainable future. The Foundation for Environmental Education and the Emirates Centre for Arab Towns formulated the Eco-Schools initiative to address the growing need to link environmental awareness with academic curricula. As an enrolled school, NSG was able to meet the comprehensive criteria involved and achieve a number of key sustainability goals.
NSG formed an in-house Eco Council, introducing measures to save water, conserve energy, reduce waste and promote biodiversity through collaborative efforts. The Council wrote a dedicated eco code for the school while simultaneously running bottle cap campaigns, organising an eco day, monitoring litter and energy usage through a points system and introducing new recycling and compost bins.
Far from resting on its achievements, NSG will now establish routines so everyone at the school is familiar with sustainable best practices. They will also push the reduction of plastics, explore curriculum links with eco learning, set garden development targets and introduce waste diaries and sustainable art clubs featuring recycled items.

Jumeirah College adds value

‘Value Added’ is a means of comparing GCSE and A Level results achieved by students at Jumeirah College (JC) with results achieved at other schools. JC attained the top percentile for ‘Value Added’ at GCSE in 2019. This means that at no other school would the students have had a better chance of attaining target grades. At A Level, JC placed in the top 2 per cent of schools worldwide. To compare, a competitor Dubai college attained in the top 10 per cent. To assess ‘Value Added’, all pupils take a baseline assessment. This is a computer-based, adaptive test taken at the start of their schooling with GEMS Education and re-administered at key points in their education. To provide an objective analysis, the results of each student’s assessment are held on an international database alongside the results of all other students who have taken the baseline tests.

GEMS Education partners with RTA and STS on road safety

GEMS Education, in collaboration with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and School Transport Services (STS), organised a week-long Road Safety Campaign to spread awareness among students regarding road safety, traffic rules and protocols. As road safety is a major concern for drivers as well as pedestrians across the UAE, GEMS Education hosted the road safety week to contribute to building a safer community and creating awareness about traffic safety.
Organised by the Traffic Awareness Section of the Traffic Department at RTA and STS, the campaign aimed to inspire young children to obey traffic rules for their own safety and that of others. It highlighted key road safety practices.
Deema Hussein, RTA Traffic Awareness Senior Manager, said; “Working hand in hand with STS on Road Safety Week will help us achieve a safer driving environment for all road users. We extend our efforts, through this campaign, to change the mindset of youth and how they think and act about road safety.”
Paul Slater, Vice President – Health and Safety at GEMS Education, said: “It is important that students learn about road safety from a very early age because road accidents are the biggest cause of deaths in the UAE. Through this awareness campaign, we hope that students learn the importance of wearing seat belts as well as road safety in general.”

200+ students take to the stage to perform Frozen

GEMS Heritage Indian School aimed high for its first ever musical theatre production back in December, adapting Disney movie hit Frozen for the stage. A total of 204 students, ranging from Grade 4 up to Grade 10, were involved in the performance – and from the impressive, high-quality production you would never have known that this was the first time any of them had ever been on stage. The show was performed to a packed audience, complete with live drumming by an ensemble of female students.