Dubai school bus fee hike: Unhappy parents can approach DED

school bus fee hike unhappy parents can approach ded 300x187 Dubai school bus fee hike: Unhappy parents can approach DEDDubai, UAE: Parents of Dubai school students who are struggling to cope with a hike in school transportation fees can now seek the help of The Department of Economic Development (DED).

These grievances will be addressed by DED’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) section, the department has now said.

Talking to Emirates 24|7, Omar Bushahab, CEO of CCCP sector said, “The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection sector in DED receives consumer complaints about goods and services provided by private companies.”

A number of schools serviced by Dubai’s biggest private school transport company, School Transport Services (STS) had, earlier this month, announced a hike in their transport fees citing the various additional measures that the bus operator has had to undertake, including GPS tracking devices, electronic attendance, video surveillance system, constant monitoring of the buses, panic button, installation of guardian cards, and mobile text alerts for parent.

“In addition to the huge expenditure incurred to introduce all the above features, reduction of seats in the buses as per RTA specifications, there has also been a steep increase in the cost of buses and fuel; hence it has become necessary for us to have a marginal increase in the transport fees,” one of the schools said in a notice it sent out to parents informing them of the transport fee hike.

Concerned parents who approached the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) were informed that such grievances could not be addressed by those bodies as private school operators were not part of their respective remits.

Now, however, the DED has stepped in and said that it will look into the matter if and when approached. “Consumers can submit their complaints by calling Ahlan Dubai on 600545555 or on the,” said DED’s Bushahab.

© Emirates 24|7 2013

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Zayed Future Energy Prize 2013 UAE High School winner installs solar systems

Zayed Future Energy Prize mini 300x159 Zayed Future Energy Prize 2013 UAE High School winner installs solar systemsAbu Dhabi, UAE: Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia School, the 2013 winner of the Zayed Future Energy Prize?s Global High Schools category for the Asia region, has marked a milestone in its award-winning sustainability project with the installation of rooftop solar-power systems. The 11.52 KW grid-type smart photo-voltaic system will aim to supply 30 percent of the school?s energy needs, mainly for lighting and cooling.

To mark the occasion, an inauguration ceremony was held at the Abu Dhabi-based school in the presence of officials, including Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director-General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and Chief Executive of Masdar and Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi .

Marking the occasion, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said, “Our founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, believed that the real asset of any advanced nation is its educated people. Taking this legacy forward, the UAE leadership has ensured that the Zayed Future Energy Prize answers to that legacy and places focus on the education of future generations through the Global High Schools category.

“We believe that education can power renewable energy. We commend Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia School for the successful completion of the first phase of their award-winning project. The installation of the solar systems not only marks an important milestone for the school, but it will also serve as an inspiration to like-minded institutions in the UAE and abroad.” “I would also like to commend the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Education Council for the progress on their Sustainable Schools Initiative which has contributed tremendously to promoting environmental sustainability among schools in Abu Dhabi. The initiative has helped schools understand and address their own environmental footprint and created a tangible change in behaviour of the school community and beyond,” added Dr. Al Jaber.

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia School is the first UAE-based entity to receive the Zayed Future Energy Prize and the first school to win in the Global High School category for the Asia region. Its prize-winning proposal outlines the school?s ambition to become carbon neutral through efficient cooling systems, grid-type smart photo-voltaic systems and solar batteries. The project also aims to achieve improved cooling throughout the school by integrating the new technology with traditional Arab building methods.

Mir Anisul Hasan, Principal of the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia School, said, “As a school with roots in the UAE, the home of our beloved founding father, our selection as winner for the Prize is an exceptional honor. The Global High Schools category reaches out to schools and students with the simple but powerful message that every student holds the capacity to make a difference. The Prize?s underlying philosophy will serve as a source of inspiration to students worldwide.” Zayed Future Energy Prize, the world?s preeminent award for excellence in renewable energy and sustainability, is a US$4 million prize awarded annually to organisations, schools and individuals that have made significant contributions to the future of energy, sustainability and climate change. In five years, the Prize has awarded 21 innovators and impacted communities across the world.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize embodies the vision of the late founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who laid the foundation for renewable energy and sustainability as part of his legacy in sustainable development in the UAE. An annual award, the Prize is managed by Masdar on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government and seeks to award achievements and innovation in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability, as well as to educate and inspire future generations.

© Emirates News Agency (WAM)

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Twelve Abu Dhabi pupils achieve top percentage scores

UAE Ministry of Education Logo 300x168 Twelve Abu Dhabi pupils achieve top percentage scoresAbu Dhabi, UAE: Aya Mahmood had always loved studying, even at the risk of being called a nerd. So it was no surprise to her when she ranked second in the Science stream among all Grade 12 pupils in the UAE.

“I opted for what is typically known as the harder field of study, but I always found it more interesting to understand complex concepts. And although I had expected to do well, becoming a UAE topper has been a source of immense joy,” the 18-year-old from Jordan, who had scored 99.8 per cent, told Gulf News.

“Hard work and determination is a necessity, and support from teachers and parents is a definite bonus. This is why, even with my visual impairment, I was able to score 99.6 per cent and rank among the toppers,” said Saif Eldeen Hatem, an 18-year-old Jordanian pupil from Al Manhal International Private School in the capital.

The two pupils were speaking on the sidelines of a press conference held Wednesday to announce the results of Abu Dhabi public and private school pupils in the 2012-2013 Ministry of Education (MoE) Grade 12 exams.

Twelve pupils in the emirate achieved the top ten percentage scores in the UAE, with ten pupils achieving within the top ten percentage scores in the Science stream and two of them attaining among the top ten scores in the Literature stream.

“The Grade 12 or Thanawiya exam results are encouraging and show progression in pupils’ performance over the years. We congratulate all the achievers and their families, and wish them the best in their future academic journey,” said Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, director general at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).

In general, Grade 12 pupils scored an average of 80 per cent in the exam, with female pupils attaining an average score of 82 per cent and male pupils achieving 78 per cent on average. The average in the Science stream at 85 per cent was higher than the Literature stream average score of 78 per cent.

Like previous years, pupils in the Western Region outperformed their peers in the capital city and Al Ain, achieving an average score of 84 per cent. In comparison, the average in Al Ain was 80 per cent, while in Abu Dhabi it was 79 per cent.

In addition, 21 per cent of exam attendees this year achieved scores of 90 per cent and higher. In addition, 0.6 per cent of pupils scored 99 per cent and higher.

Asked about how many pupils had this year (2012-2013 academic year) failed to achieve the minimum passing grade of 60 per cent, Dr Al Khaili told Gulf News that further information on pupils’ overall performance would be made available after further analysis.

Officials said that pupils in Abu Dhabi have also shown improvement in the Common Educational Proficiency Assessment (CEPA) exams, which are administered jointly by the National Admissions and Placement Office (NAPO) in the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and the federal higher education institutions in the UAE. These scores are taken into account by the federal institutions for their admission criteria.

© Gulf News


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Practical advice for UAE students interested in pursuing graduate studies in the US

carian college advisers logo 300x159 Practical advice for UAE students interested in pursuing graduate studies in the USDubai, UAE: Applying to American graduate schools is a daunting task for even the most highly motivated and prepared student, as admission to graduate programs is typically highly selective and competitive. But applicants based in the UAE face particular challenges based on a general lack of information and guidance on requirements and expectations of the process. It is useful for the student interested in pursuing an advanced degree in the US to start researching and understanding graduate school entrance requirements as early as possible, as they will vary considerably based on the type of program and specific university to which the student is applying. Unlike in the undergraduate US application process, in which students are expected to submit either the TOEFL or IELTS and SAT scores, graduate application requirements are highly specialized and the student will be expected to complete standardized tests such as the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, DAT or MCAT, in addition to the TOEFL or IELTS. This article will provide a general framework of understanding to students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in Arts & Sciences and Engineering.

The top criterion for admission to a graduate degree program is a successful undergraduate academic record.
Most graduate programs require a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA for admission. But grades should exceed this minimum benchmark in order for the student to have a realistic expectation of securing admission and successfully completing their graduate studies. Students must honestly assess and ask themselves if they can actually handle graduate level academic work. If they maintained a high GPA while pursuing the most rigorous coursework available then they will be well prepared to do so. Graduate school applicants should be highly accomplished in their intended course of study as undergraduates. Average undergraduate students should strive to achieve more than minimum departmental and university requirements in order to have a distinct advantage during the application process.

Another major factor in the admissions process will be the completion of standardized tests, which should be completed by October in the year prior to enrollment.
Demonstrating English proficiency is a sine qua non of studying in the US. Even if students have taken the TOEFL or IELTS, they should take the exam again in the year before they apply to graduate school. US universities prefer the TOEFL to the IELTS. While each university has different minimum required TOEFL scores for graduate school applicants, students should score a minimum of 80 on the iBT for less selective programs and 100 or above for the most selective programs. The other required standardized test is the Graduate Record Examination or GRE. The importance of the GRE in the admissions process can vary greatly from one institution/program to another. But students should expect to take it preferably no more than twice, and should prepare thoroughly for it. The GRE is composed of six sections, which can be either verbal reasoning or quantitative reasoning. It is administered via computer throughout the year in the UAE. Again, applicants should check with individual institutions as to specific GRE requirements for intended programs of study. However, a minimum score of 155 or above on each of the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections is acceptable for less selective institutions, while 163 and above would be required of the highly selective institutions.

Students must typically submit three academic letters of recommendation from current or former professors as part of their graduate school applications.
These should be requested of professors that have taught classes in which the student has done extraordinarily well in academically. These recommendations provide valuable insight into the student’s personality, character, academic performance and potential to complete graduate studies successfully. Students should request these recommendations from professors who know them well, and with whom they have completed advanced classes or independent research. Recommendations from department chairs or professors that are leaders in their respective universities and fields of study will add additional weight to the recommendations. Furthermore, students should provide their professors with examples of their academic work, particularly in the professor’s class(es), as well as a current resume in order to assist the professor in writing the recommendation. Writing samples, work samples and a resume will be required by the universities to which the student is applying to as well.

Cost is another significant factor in the application process.
Financial aid for international students is extremely limited; the total cost of attendance can range between $40,000 to $65,000 USD per year. Applicants must submit a certified bank statement demonstrating that they can fund the costs of their education in order to complete their applications. They must also take into account the opportunity cost of pursuing a graduate degree. Not only will they be paying for tuition, housing, travel and associated expenses in the US, they will be foregoing income they could have generated while working instead of pursuing further academic studies.

Applications should be completed by September of the year prior to the year to intended enrollment – essentially a year in advance.
But various application components require additional preparation and foresight. A well-crafted and informative personal statement will allow students to describe why they would like to pursue their graduate studies. Additionally, one of the most important considerations for students is that they create a comprehensive list of programs to which to apply (ones that are both realistic and relevant.) Students must ensure that not only are their applications prepared properly and effectively, but also that they are submitted to universities that will provide them with the appropriate environment – one that will foster the potential for personal, professional and academic growth.

Peter Davos is the Founder and Managing Director of Carian College Advisors ( based in Dubai, UAE. He holds degrees from Johns Hopkins, Oxford and Harvard.

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Abu Dhabi school goes green with solar energy

abu dhabi school goes green with solar energy 300x197 Abu Dhabi school goes green with solar energyAbu Dhabi, UAE: A Bangladeshi school in Abu Dhabi is setting an example for the nation with its award-winning sustainability and energy conservation efforts.

Winner of the $100,000 (Dh367,300) Zayed Future Energy Prize this year, Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamiya Private School has become the first educational institution in the UAE to install solar panels to meet most of its energy needs.

“Once the 48 solar panels are installed, all lights and fans in the school will function on solar energy. That is only the first phase of this project,” Mir Anisul Hasan, Principal of the school, told XPRESS.

The school won the prestigious award instituted by Masdar in the Global High Schools – Asia category for its solar energy project.

Future plans

In the second and third phases, the school has plans to install solar batteries for the storage of solar energy, and construct Arabian style wind towers for passive cooling.

The solar panels being installed by Mulk Renewable Energy company can produce 60 KwH daily and can meet 30 per cent of the school’s energy needs.

Project engineer Abul Bashar Aminul Islam said the innovative features like booster mirror and a tracking system that rotates during the day to follow the sun gives 50 per cent more output than conventional systems.

The commendable green initiatives by this modest community school located in the Muroor area with around 600 students, are driven by its Eco Club.

Under the headship of two Indian teachers – Dr. Anita Saul and Rekha Tushar – the school has transformed into a green zone where students are taught the vital lesson – to sustain is to survive.

Grade XII student Fahad Bashar, President of the Eco Club, said sustainable initiatives are introducing many students to their future stream of studies.

“Many of us want to take up sustainability and energy conservation as our future course of study,” Bashar told XPRESS.

When you walk onto the campus, there are no WiFi-enabled lounges, manicured lawns, Olympic-sized swimming pools or multi-media entertainment zones.

What greets you at the entrance is a huge poster that proclaims what the school stands for – ‘We are a sustainable school. Save and sustain our energy, water and land.”

And the school practices what it preaches. LED lights have replaced over 700 tube lights and bulbs in the classrooms and corridors in the last few months.

Every classroom has three bins to segregate waste. Plastic bottles are not allowed on the campus. Sustainability becomes a way of life for students, and they carry the green message outside their campus. As Afreen Sara of Grade 8 puts it, “I do not allow my family members to waste water and energy.”

The Eco Club garden in the campus is watered with recycled water that comes from the ablution area. The used water is collected in a tank and filtered using pebbles. Occasionally, sodium hypochloride is used to clean the water.

‘’This was one of our initial projects to increase our green area without increasing water consumption,” said Saul.

In the backyard there is a protected green area where students have planted endangered indigenous trees like Ghaf, Cider and Arak.

“We want to encourage our children to protect and preserve our environment. It is a culture they should imbibe and spread to the rest of the world as envisioned by our visionary leader Shaikh Zayed,” said the principal, Hasan.

© Gulf News

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UAE high school students to receive their grades via text message

UAE Ministry of Education Logo 300x168 UAE high school students to receive their grades via text messageDubai, UAE: High school students studying in the UAE will receive their final grades via text message on their phones, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Education confirmed.

The Minister of Education made the announcement stating that it is a step forward towards implementing the mobile government initiative of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The mobile initiative aims to create a ‘mobile government’ that delivers its services via mobile phones and other advanced technological tools in order to provide services every day, all day and wherever the person is.

With the increasing demand on smartphones the initiative aims to take advantage of the fact that there are more than 14 million mobile phones in use across the UAE and so switching to mobile technology is the logical move, Shaikh Mohammad had said earlier.

Gulf News spoke to some parents and students to learn about their views regarding receiving their grades on the phone.

“I think that it is a great idea because it is more convenient for us parents than having to go all the way to the school. I hope that the ministry will consider providing this service to all grades, not just high school students, because my children are in grade three and five and I would love if that service would be provided for us,” said mother-of-three Mai Jameel, 32.

University student Ehab Qazooh, 19, said that he is glad that the service is being provided after he graduated. “Tough luck for high school students because they will not be able to hide their failing grades from there parents any more since they will be sent to them.” Qazooh said jokingly. “I guess it is a good service for parents because it makes their lives easier and their child won’t be able to hide their grades from them any more,” he added.

© Gulf News

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Connect with family, UAE students told

Connect with family UAE students told 300x201 Connect with family, UAE students toldUAE: Young people should spend less time on gadgets and more time with their families, students at Our Own High School in Al Warqa’a were told during their annual prize day.

The 9th Annual Prize Day, held on June 13, celebrated students’ academic, curricular and extra-curricular achievements. The students also showed their gratitude to their teachers.

Jamie Stewart, associate director of business and technology, Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai, who was chief guest at the event, underscored the importance of the family and the need to disconnect from smart phones, tablets and all other electronic gadgets at least for some time in their life in order to get connected with the family. He recalled the days when ‘apples’ and ‘blackberries’ were only fruit.

GEMS Director of Asian Schools David Wilson congratulated the entire school fraternity. “Scores and technical competency is not what matters but character and attitude is,” he said emphasising the need of being unique to be successful.

© Khaleej Times

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Iran, Iraq to upgrade cooperation on education

MPj043940900001 mini 300x219 Iran, Iraq to upgrade cooperation on educationTehran, Iran: Iran and Iraq education ministries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) Tuesday to exchange experience and upgrade cooperation in various educational arenas.

Signed by the Iranian Education Minister Hamid Reza Haj-Babaei and the Iraqi deputy education minister, Ali Ebrahim, the agreement envisaged empowering the educational staff and upgrade cooperation in the fields of publishing textbooks and exchange experience.

The Iraqi deputy educationminister said that some 600,000 teachers are working in Iraq’s education ministry, adding that women constitute 65 percent of the educational staff while 35 percent are men.

Haj-Babaei, for his part, told the signing ceremony that the agreement will benefit both nations.

Contending that Iraq is a neighboring country with common education policies with Iran, he added that educational cooperation will help the two nations come closer to each other.

Referring to the agreement signed between the two countries’ education ministries last year, he said that based on the document, Iranian schools were established in Karbala, Najf, Kadimiya and Bagh

© IRNA 2013

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Student with visual impairment among top scorers in UAE ministry exams

ADEC logo Abu Dhab Education Council Student with visual impairment among top scorers in UAE ministry examsAbu Dhabi, UAE: Girls outperformed boys, science triumphed over the arts, and pupils in the Western Region beat their city counterparts in the secondary school Ministry of Education curriculum exams.

Twelve pupils from Abu Dhabi were among the top performers, according to Abu Dhabi Education Council, which used the announcement of the results to highlight its plan to scrap the foundation years taken by some pupils before university enrolment.

Grade 12 pupils across Abu Dhabi scored a collective grade point average of 80 per cent – 82 per cent for girls and 78 per cent for boys.

Science students, averaging 85 per cent, outperformed their counterparts in the arts, who averaged 78 per cent.

Western Region pupils were top in the emirate with 84 per cent, followed by those in Al Ain at 80 per cent. Pupils in Abu Dhabi city scored an average 79 per cent.

Across the country, 37,011 sat the exams this year – 9,377 of them in Abu Dhabi. Of the pupils in Abu Dhabi, about 67 per cent were arts students.

Aya Mohammed, 18, from Jordan, achieved 99.8 per cent in science, placing her second in the UAE and first in Abu Dhabi.

“Many people think distinguished students stay at home all the time studying but that is not true,” she said. “It is all about organising your time and the mental ability of learning.”

Sixty-two Abu Dhabi pupils scored more than 99 per cent, while another 680 students scored above 95 per cent.

The education council used the results to state its intent to eliminate the foundation year taken by some students before university enrolment.

Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, director general of the council, said they were working closely with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education on a federal project that would eliminate the need for foundation years.

“We are in the final stages of this soon-to-be-unveiled project which aims to eliminate the need of foundation years by our students,” Dr Al Khaili said.

Saif Al Deen Hatem, 17, a Jordanian who now lives in the capital, was “overjoyed when I found I was among the top performers”.

Saif, the youngest of seven children, scored 99.63 per cent in science.

He achieved his remarkable score despite sight problems he developed in Grade 3 that left him unable to read.

“Do not give up easily,” he said. “This is the message I want to give people with disabilities. We can overcome it.”

Because of his poor sight, Saif’s mother, Najah Najeb, a supervisor with the education council, read him lessons.

“She would do anything for me. I can never repay her for what she did,” he said. “Her support was my motivation to succeed. I just could not let her down.”

Mrs Najeb stood proudly beside her son with tears in her eyes after he got his results yesterday.

“I expected him to do even better because he is a very intelligent boy,” she said. “I really wish him happiness and success in life.”

The National

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