NAJAH 95% Sold-Out As Industry Sets Eye on UAE’s Education Market

najah 95percent sold out as industry sets eye on uaes education market NAJAH 95% Sold Out As Industry Sets Eye on UAEs Education MarketAbu Dhabi, UAE: NAJAH, the country’s leading higher education and career exhibition, has witnessed 95% of its floor space soldtwo month out from the event.

Mirroring this, recent findings from US-based strategic advisory firm, TheParthenon Group, put the value of the K-12 educationmarket in the UAE at $1.9bn with Dubai having the fastest-growing enrolment in private international schools of any major city in the world.

NAJAH, which takes place from 28 to 30 October at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, has seen increased interest from international institutions, with Enterprise Ireland, Leeds Metropolitan University and Italy’s Laureate Design Universities among others all taking part this year.

Khurram Saeed, NAJAH Exhibition Director, said: “To have 95% of the floor space sold two months prior to the event is a barometer of the interest the industry, not only locally but internationally, has in the burgeoning UAE education sector.”

“We are also extremely excited about the amount of new international exhibitors who are signing up to participate this year. The UAE is seen as one of the most attractive education destinations in the world for students seeking to pursue their studies abroad, and the most attractive education destination among emerging market economies. NAJAH provides a great platform for organisations to enter this dynamic market and capitalise on the growing education sector.” added Saeed.

NAJAH focuses on career, training and education opportunities for school-leavers and fresh graduates who are looking at their future career direction and educational goals.

A new feature edition for this year’s edition is a partnership to host free onsite assessments with cut-e, a world leader in the design and implementation of online tests for use in recruitment, selection and development of people in the business world.

Moving away from global participation, a number of leading local institutions have signed up to take part in NAJAH this year including Abu Dhabi University, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, American University of Sharjah, Masdar Institute, American University in the Emirates, Al Ain University, Zayed University, Higher Colleges of Technology and The University of Jazeera among others.

For visitors looking at the career side of the exhibition, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi andthe Abu Dhabi Farmers Service Centre are all first time exhibitorslooking to recruit fresh graduates and working professionals.

Now in its eighth year, NAJAH in 2013 attracted nearly 15,000 visitors to the show, with 91% of them being either students or fresh graduates/professionals looking for undergraduate courses or career opportunities.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth & Development, NAJAH is supported by the Abu Dhabi Education Council and Dubai International Academic City.

Official sponsors for the fair are GHQ Armed Forces, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, National Qualifications Authority, ALHOSN University, Be You International, Rabdan Academy, Emirates College of Technology and Berkeley Middle East.

More information about NAJAH can be found at


Warning over new licences for UAE teachers

warning over new licences for uae teachers Warning over new licences for UAE teachersDubai, UAE: Education chiefs were urged on Monday to phase in a new licensing system slowly to avoid losing good teachers who might not be formally qualified.

The new licences, coming next year, should make allowances for talented teachers who have acquired years of classroom experience while not holding the proper professional credentials, experts say.

The national scheme may require teachers to pass an exam or complete a training programme to be issued a licence. Details will be confirmed next year. “It’s like a platform for uniform criteria for all teachers,” said Jumana Shehada, head of the English department at Dubai National School, which supports the changes.

“Some people are applying for teaching but they have only been enrolled in academic programmes, not teaching programmes, so they are qualified from an academic point of view but they don’t have the teaching qualifications.

“It’s very important, alongside curriculum or academic requirements, that they know teaching methodology: how to appeal to students, how to differentiate classes. It’s a prerequisite that should be there for teachers, similar to a professional standing required in other countries.”

At the moment, education authorities such as the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai, Abu Dhabi Education Council or the Ministry of Education list different qualification criteria for teachers.

Even within authorities there are discrepancies. With KHDA, for example, Arabic and Islamic studies teachers have to pass an exam and meet academic criteria, while other teachers are exempt from the test.

A national licensing system will ensure the professional standards are uniform.

Bandana Lazarus, vice principal at Delhi Private School in Dubai, said unifying the standards would bring the UAE in line with the qualifications requirements of many other countries. In India, she said, all teachers take an exam after completing their education degree.

“They have to clear this test, once they have that score, it helps them get recruited,” she said. “Until you are trained to be a teacher, you cannot teach.”

While she supported unifying licensing standards, Mrs Lazarus said arrangements should be considered for existing teachers who had been working without the teaching credentials, and Mrs Shehada agreed.

“There should be an equivalence criteria, for instance a minimum number of teaching years, that would be OK,” said Mrs Shehada. Such teachers should be taught classroom management strategies and how to communicate effectively with pupils, she said.

Neene Adam, an English teacher at Gems Modern Academy, knows many teachers who are not formally trained in the profession but excel at their jobs. She said if teachers who did not hold a teachers’ training certificate were forced to retrain to meet the new standards, the cost should be met by the schools.

“If it becomes mandatory, then that would become quite an obstacle – we may lose a lot of good teachers,” Mrs Adam said, because teachers would have to return to school themselves to earn professional qualifications. “With the pressure now on teachers to deliver with so little income coming in, I mean, teachers are dropping out of the profession already.

“If you’re going to put in more stipulations, you’re going to lose more good teachers.”

Rema Vellat, a counsellor and author who runs the Counselling Point consultancy, said it was normal for some people to resist change.

“Initially, when something like that is introduced, there’s going to be chaos and people will grumble,” she said.

“It’s just like before when it became mandatory for all educational institutions to be licensed by either Adec or KHDA. But now everybody realises the importance of it and the reason behind it, and everybody follows the rules.”

© The National


Most kindergarten projects in MoE project are complete

most kindergarten projects in moe project are complete Most kindergarten projects in MoE project are completeUAE: Only 13 of 89 kindergartens still need to be equipped with the necessary furnishings and educational tools before the kindergarten development project is completed by the end of this year, according to Fawziya Hassan Gharib, assistant undersecretary for educational operations at the ministry.

The project aims to develop kindergartens and train 1,338 teachers and administrative staff.

Ms Gharib said 1,092 teachers out of 1,252 have so far received training. Forty-two training courses have been delivered on the implementation of self-learning systems at kindergarten development centres in Dubai, the Eastern Region and Ras Al Khaimah.

The English-language programme has been implemented in kindergartens since 2008. There have been 87 English teachers appointed between 2008 and last year at 60 centres in six educational zones.

The Arabic-language development programme was implemented in 44 kindergartens last year. Since then, 104 teachers and instructors had been trained to teach Arabic-language skills.

The programme would cover the remaining kindergartens by the start of the new school year.

The project also includes offering two training courses per school year to train teachers in the new curriculum, and the daily schedule at kindergartens would be modified accordingly. Assessment systems would be developed and special regulations would be introduced to cover such issues as registration and acceptance.

Work is under way to include kindergartens on the educational scale as an educational phase.

© The National


International schools catch on with Saudis

international schools catch on with saudis International schools catch on with SaudisJeddah, Saudi Arabia: International schools in the Kingdom are steadily gaining popularity among Saudi students due to parents’ perceptions that their children stand to acquire a more well-rounded education in these schools despite the high fees.

According to recently published statistics, there are currently 321 foreign schools in the Kingdom conducting 8,000 classes and attended by 180,000 students of which 2 percent are Saudis.

“I have enrolled my sons in an international school in Jeddah. While the academic program is excellent, the fees are very high,” Hamed Al-Olyan, a Saudi living in Jeddah, told Arab News.

Riyadh has the largest number of students enrolled in its foreign schools, estimated at 80 schools with some 65,000 students, while Jeddah is considered the largest city in terms of the number of schools, with around 95 establishments, followed by the Eastern Province, which has 56 schools with a total of 80,000 students, according to government statistics.

Alkhobar is considered the best city for foreign schools in the Eastern Province and third in the Kingdom, with a total number of around 40,000 students.

Some Saudi families refuse to register their children in international schools fearing that the pedagogy in these schools will weaken the Arab and Islamic culture.

“I have enrolled my elder son in an international school in Jeddah and think that it will help him achieve his aspirations. But I hope my son will preserve his Arab and Islamic culture,” Turki Abdul Khaleq, a Saudi resident, told Arab News.

There are two kinds of foreign schools in the Kingdom: the community schools run by the embassies of countries for their nationals living in Saudi Arabia and the international schools teaching British and American curricula. There are approximately 75 community schools in the Kingdom.

“It is important for Saudi private schools to develop their academic programs to attract more students as the international schools have done. At present, there is strong competition between Saudi private schools and international schools,” Abdul Aziz Al-Makhlouf, a Saudi private school director in Jeddah, said.

International schools are normally supervised by foreign international organizations such as SABIS, the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) or the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSASC) while foreign community schools are guided by the syllabuses of their countries.

© Arab News 2014


Abu Dhabi Science Festival expands to two other UAE cities

abu dhabi science festival expands to two other uae cities Abu Dhabi Science Festival expands to two other UAE citiesAbu Dhabi, UAE: The growing popularity of the annual Abu Dhabi Science Festival (ADSF) has compelled its expansion to three cities across the UAE, organisers said on Sunday.

The programming has also been shaken up for the fourth holding of the festival, which runs from November 13 to 22. Sixty per cent of the workshops and activities will be new. Of these, 20 activities are locally inspired and offered by UAE-based partners.

“We’ve been operating on the Corniche on a small scale but this is going to be big,” said Simon Gage, the director of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, a content partner for ADSF.

Unlike previous years, when the festival was held in several locations across the capital, this year all activities, workshops and stage presentations will take place along the Corniche, as well as at sites in Sharjah and Al Ain.

“I look forward very much to seeing what will happen on the Corniche this year,” said Dr Gage. “It will be a festival village like none other. I don’t think anyone has built a festival like this on the beach before and dedicated it to science and technology. It says a lot about what this country wants to do in that area.”

The festival, which is targeted at children from five to 15 years of age, is among a number of events and programmes organised by the Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (ADTDC), aimed at promoting science, technology and innovation among the nation’s youth. It is run in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Abu Dhabi Education Council, and sponsored by Tawazun and Dolphin Energy.

Judging by the increasing numbers of participants, the festival has been an astounding success, according to Ahmed Saeed Al Calily, ADTDC’s director general.

“The festival continues to improve year after year,” said Mr Al Calily. “It’s having a great impact. One of the main objectives of the festival is to spread a love and passion for science and technology within our youth and their parents and the community at large.

“The festival, I think, has done a great job in doing that. We see that there’s hunger, there’s anticipation for this festival year after year.

“It’s proof that it is needed as an activity. Parents value it because they understand the strategic dimensions of having their kids interested in science and technology. But I think it’s also important that the kids go there and have a great time. They play, but they’re learning, they’re getting exposed to science and technology.”

In addition to the Corniche’s east plaza, the festival will simultaneously be held at Al Ain Zoo and at Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah. Some activities in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will require tickets, which can be bought online from the festival website, starting next month.

The Al Ain Zoo exhibits will be free but only open to zoo patrons. Ticket prices will be announced soon.

Bidaya Media, the company responsible for bringing Sesame Street to the Middle East, is developing Elmo’s Reach for the Stars, a new workshop aimed at teaching children about the solar system through Elmo’s eyes.

Astronomy groups in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have also teamed up with the festival to offer new activities such as telescope observations in the evenings.

New events will also be offered by the Environment Agency. “We’ve got more than 20 new workshops that are going to be delivered by local organisations. They were created here and they will be delivered here,” said Dr Linda Silver, associate director of content, science and technology at ADTDC.

© The National


The Strathclyde Dialogues on Gen Y

Generation Y – Myth or Reality?

Stereotyped in the popular press in both a positive and negative light, Generation Y (‘the Millennials’) is the youngest generation to be entering the global workforce – and is a hot topic right now. Time Magazine controversially coined them the Me, Me Me Generation but has also described Gen Ys as optimistic, confident and pragmatic.

Attracting the attention of governments, businesses, marketers and the wider general public, these digital natives are the biggest emerging demographic and are radically shaking up our workplace with their attitudes, behaviors and preferences.

But what’s myth and what’s reality? How is Gen Y going to shape the future global workforce and do we really need to be prepared for their arrival? What are the implications for the UAE workplace – for now and in the future? Come along to this Strathclyde Dialogue to find out and engage. Our panel of researchers and practitioners will shed local light on the Gen Y phenomenon and will highlight the trends that are and will continue to impact on international as well as regional realities.

Dubai Cares reaffirms commitment for universal primary education

dubai cares reaffirms commitment for universal primary education Dubai Cares reaffirms commitment for universal primary educationDubai, UAE: A Dubai Cares delegation reaffirmed its commitment to help achieve universal primary education a forum held along the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Tarek Al Gurg, Dubai Cares CEO, led the Dubai Cares delegation as they joined representatives of UN aid agencies, heads of states, and representatives of foundations and civil society organisations, academic institutions, and delegates from member states of the UN in New York to discuss the way forward in providing primary education to all the children around the world.

In a series of high-level meetings convened along the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly, delegates focused on re-energising the movement by addressing current problems by injecting more funds, expertise, and conducting global awareness campaigns.

The Dubai Cares delegation participated in a forum co-chaired by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to discuss the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI).

The forum seeks to address fundamental issues in the provision of quality, relevant and transformative education for everyone by 2015 and beyond.

In support of the initiative, Dubai Cares has consistently aligned its programmes in vulnerable communities by ensuring quality primary education, creating safe learning environments, increasing resources, facilitating support for parents and training for teachers.

“There is an overwhelming need for collective action towards enforcing primary schooling opportunities for every child. These meetings are instrumental in bringing together the best minds from around the world to exchange opinions and ideas, share best practices, highlight challenges and formulate solutions,” Al Gurg said.

The delegation also participated in A World at School September Forum, which has been at the forefront of the 500-day countdown to meeting the Millennium Development Goal 2, thus ensuring equal opportunity for every child of the current and future generations.

The event shed light on the 58 million children that are still out of school as well as the lag in gender equality when it comes to access to education.

“Educating the girl child can curb population inflation, cut down on incidences of HIV whilst ensuring a progressive family and community outlook towards the world. Hence, the notion that universal education for girls will only be achieved by 2086, at the current rate, is a cause of serious concern that needs to be addressed immediately,” Al Gurg added.

© Gulf News


Demand for British teachers in the region higher than supply

demand for british teachers in the region higher than supply Demand for British teachers in the region higher than supplyDubai, UAE: Demand for British teachers by international schools in the region is higher than supply, an expert said during the International and Private Schools Education Forum last week.

Neil Ollier, Director of Business Development in the Mena region, who spoke about how changes in policy and economics have affected teacher supply, said demand of teachers has increased due to the increasing number of international schools opening.

“In countries like the UAE and Qatar the number of international teaching posts increases by 10 to 15 per cent. The Mena region is going to need more teachers than the west.”

Ollier said the demand for British teachers specifically is higher than the supply because British curriculum schools are very popular worldwide for offering quality education.

He said the two years post-qualification experience being enforced in the UAE is one of the supply restricting factors. UK teachers not having a bachelor degree and not teaching subjects they majored in is another restriction, as Ollier said 28 per cent of primary teachers in the UK do not have a bachelor’s degree and 30 per cent of maths and physics teachers don’t have related degrees.

Other factors affecting teacher supply include visa restrictions, especially when it comes to teachers who are above 60 years old.

“Twenty-two per cent of teachers in the UK are above 55 years old, in New Zealand it is 21 per cent and in the US it is 16 per cent.”

Warm climates, stability, money, social life, known destination, urban destinations, school branding is what attracts teachers abroad, said the expert.

In order to find suitable teachers to meet demand, Ollier said schools should advertise in various locations, consider alternative nationalities (Australian, New Zealanders, etc) and search on website career pages.

On the other hand, to retain teachers recruited abroad, he said schools should have good communication before arrival (because new teachers coming to a country for the first time would have a lot of questions and need reassuring), have a solid arrival and orientation programme and detect problems early.

During the forum, Dr Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) and Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), said global transnational education (TNE) students are increasingly seeing Dubai as a global higher education hub, like the USA, UK, Australia and Canada,

Dr Ayoub said that Dubai’s emergence as a global study destination was due to an expected increase in employment opportunities resulting from Expo 2020, safety and cultural concerns, a strategic geographical position, ease of acquiring visas and the global recognition of qualifications.

“Since 2009, there has been up to a five-fold increase in TNEs considering the UAE as a study destination, which Tecom’s Education Cluster has directly impacted through a ten-fold increase in its student body to over 20,000 students since 2003, offering over 400 academic programmes,” he said.

Whilst the UAE has risen as a preferred study destination by TNEs since 2009, the UK, USA, Australia and Canada have all faced a six to eight per cent drop in popularity, Dr Ayoub said, quoting the QS Trends in International Student Mobility report.

© Gulf News


Delight for teachers as efforts are recognised

delight for teachers as efforts are recognised Delight for teachers as efforts are recognisedDubai, UAE: When Susan Mathew found out she was one of the recipients of the Emax Amazing Teacher Awards, her proud husband wanted to spread the news far and wide.

In preparation for the awards ceremony, which was held on Saturday at Gems Winchester School, he set up his computer so her parents in Kerala, India, could watch.

Ms Mathew, a career counsellor and biology teacher at Al Ameen Private School, was nominated by three pupils and two parents for the award. She said the honour filled her with joy.

“For me the award is recognition of what we do,” said Ms Mathew, who celebrated her 32nd birthday on the day of the award ceremony. “Day-in and day-out, we are helping set a career path for the students. We do a lot of personal counselling for parents and students and, in the end, this is recognition.

“As you all know, maybe the pay in Dubai is not very high for teaching staff and school faculty but these special moments when you are recognised by parents and by students – even if it’s not an award – even if it is one parent coming back and telling you, ‘Ma’am, because of you my child is happy in her university’, that makes your life.”

Ms Mathew was one of 125 teachers, counsellors and principals honoured at the second annual Emax Amazing Teacher Awards, which is organised by Big Idea, a group that hosts various educational events and student competitions. Nominations were received from schools across the country, said Reena Banerjee, founder and idea director at Big Idea.

“This is the second year that I’m doing this just as a tribute to the teachers, those who are doing so much for society,” Mrs Banerjee said. “They never get the recognition, so I thought let me give a tribute to the teacher.

“Last year, it was very well received. The teachers were very happy.”

Last year, 40 teachers were honoured in the inaugural ceremony. This year, the number of winners jumped when Mrs Banerjee received more than 3,000 nominations from across the country.

To be considered for the award, teachers had to be nominated by a student or parent. The nomination letter required an essay explaining how the educator positively impacted the person’s life.

Asak Alexander, a 53-year-old Dubai principal who has worked in schools for 30 years, said she was moved by the nomination.

“There were about 35 nominees from my school and 33 of them are receiving awards this evening, as well as my counsellor and myself,” said Mrs Alexander, who works at The Kindergarten Starters. “It’s a very special day for all of us. I’m absolutely thrilled.

“I value this award because this is the parents and the children of my school who are telling me that we are doing something right.”

Arabic teacher Ghada Riad, a 36-year-old Egyptian who teaches at Our Own English High School, said the award was meaningful because it came from those who mattered most.

“I’m very happy because this is not coming from my school or my work, it’s coming from my students and the parents.

“I feel like I will go tomorrow more motivated – I want to work more for my students.”

In addition to being recognised in an awards ceremony, the winners also receive a certificate. About 450 people attended the event.

“It’s a tribute to the teachers,” Mrs Banerjee said.

© The National


Emirati boys suffer due to teacher disinterest

emirati boys suffer due to teacher disinterest Emirati boys suffer due to teacher disinterestAbu Dhabi, UAE: In addition to ensuring that Emirati teachers remain motivated, education officials must also exert more efforts to help expatriate public school teachers remain passionate about their jobs.

This is because nearly 90 per cent of male teachers in the UAE’s public schools are expatriates, and they have a big influence on the young Emirati boys in their charge, said Soha Shami, associate researcher at the Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research.

“Because male teachers are demotivated, Emirati boys in public schools get fewer opportunities to develop themselves, compared to Emirati girls. And because only about 11 per cent of these male teachers are Emirati, Emirati boys also come across fewer role models,” Shami said, quoting research conducted by Dr Natasha Ridge, executive director at the Foundation.

In comparison, nearly 70 per cent of female teachers in public schools are Emirati, and these teachers have access to better salaries and more professional development opportunities. As a result, girls in public schools are taught by more motivated teachers who can inspire them.

“While it may be difficult to equalise pay scales for Emirati and expat teachers, it is important to at least offer them the same chances to develop their skills, or the same rewards and recognition for their achievements. This will benefit male pupils who are mainly taught by expatriates, especially as fewer and fewer male Emiratis are getting into teaching,” Shami added.

The findings were presented at the fifth annual education conference in the capital, which was organised by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research. The two-day event that concluded today (September 24) saw education officials, teachers and leaders discuss challenges in the field, and offer recommendations for creating a culture of excellence in the classroom.

According to statistics presented at the forum, the proportion of Emirati teachers in public schools across the country is on the decline. Between 2010 and 2014, the percentage of female teachers fell from 71 per cent to 65 per cent. The share of male Emirati teachers has remained at 11 per cent over the same period, said Dr Ahmad Al Sagheer, associate professor of education at the University of Sharjah.

Shami added that in some public schools, there are no male Emirati teachers at all.

“There are a number of reasons that contribute to this lack of interest in the teaching profession. While teachers face a heavy work load, they must also stand up to the lack of respect for pupils and many parents,” she said.

Dr Al Sagheer also called for the salaries of public school teachers to be linked to living standards and costs in the UAE, and for legislation to protect their rights and needs.

© Gulf News