Parents happy with children’s education: Survey

parents happy with children s education survey Parents happy with children’s education: SurveyAbu Dhabi, UAE: A survey by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has revealed that parents across the emirate are satisfied with their children’s schools. The education satisfaction survey, that was conducted in 2013-2014, sought to gauge the level of parents’ satisfaction with seven aspects of the education provided by the school of their child – parental participation and communication, quality of learning, school safety, code of conduct, morale and loyalty, health issues and school facilities.

Parents in Abu Dhabi are happy with the support the child receives and the quality of teaching in schools. — Supplied photo

More than 53,780 parents (of students in public and private schools in the emirate) participated in the survey, which exceeded expectations according to Adec.

In public schools, where 77 per cent of parents expressed satisfaction. They expressed “complete satisfaction” when it came to rating the school facilities and school safety.

In private schools, school safety, morale and loyalty (school reputation and attractiveness) were the top two aspects of their school parents were “completely satisfied” with. Meanwhile, the school facilities (in terms of adequate space and resources, and building condition) were rated “neutral” in 21 schools, followed by the code of conduct (student behaviour and educators demeanour towards students) in five schools.

The survey, which featured a total of 70 questions, covered a range of issues that are important to parents and schools. These include the level of support the child receives at school; quality of teachers and teaching; the child’s satisfaction with the school; how the school deals with behaviour and bullying; the level of care given to students; level and type of communication with the school; and school cafeteria and health clinic facilities.

Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, Adec director-general, commended the level of participation showed by parents in the survey. In addition to responding to all the questions at the survey, over 12,000 open-ended comments were received from parents which showed their willingness and enthusiasm.

According to Adec, the report, which can now be accessed online (http://bit.ly/1DmqUnQ) will help provide principals with useful insights to identify their school’s strengths and weaknesses from parents’ perspective. The report is also useful for parents looking at enrolling their kids into these schools.

“Publicising these results will be helpful for school inspectors, parents and members of the public in general. This initiative has resulted in receiving the highest number of parental engagement ever, which shows that we are doing something right to help involve parents in their child’s educational process,” said Professor Masood Badri, head of research and planning Adec

“We will use this fruitful feedback to ask for more in-depth information which can make all the difference to schools. Without parental feedback you run the risk of missing the first signs of potential problems and alienating the very people who matter the most,” he pointed out.

© Khaleej Times

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Project to raise standard of Saudi public schools

project to raise standard of saudi public schools Project to raise standard of Saudi public schoolsSaudi Arabia: The newly formed Public Education Evaluation Commission (PEEC) will launch on Sunday its first project on the national education curriculum standards for public schools.

The event at Al-Faisaliah Hotel will be attended by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, minister of education, according to a source from PEEC.

Conducted under the theme “Building National Framework Reference for the Curriculum Standards,” this will be the first PEEC project to be undertaken in collaboration with the Center of Excellence at King Saud University, which will hold workshops from Feb. 2 to 5.

PEEC Deputy Gov. Saleh Shamrani said that the project is one of the main technical programs of the commission within the framework of future programs and projects for upgrading education. These approaches represent the core of the educational process.

The program aims to develop higher standards for students, enabling them to raise their benchmark after reaching the cognitive domain target. This will be the standard platform and a basis for the design of educational attitudes.

He added: “This will build assessment tools to detect the extent of the success of those standards, to enhance the quality of education and guide future development operations in the light of the evaluation results, which will contribute to the achievement of comprehensive and sustainable development.”

Shamrani said that this event reflects the importance of national capacity and professional development, which is essential for the success of the project. It will also provide technical support to the program committees to make a paradigm shift in the general education curriculum in Saudi Arabia.

“The workshop will provide a vision of the curricula of public education in Saudi Arabia and will determine the values, attitudes and aspirations of the community,” he said, adding that it contributes to the development of the future to achieve a number of objectives including building an effective partnership based on mutual cooperation between PEEC, the Center of Excellence for Research and global specialist experience.

© Arab News 2015

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Why school discipline is a double-edged sword

why school discipline is a double edged sword Why school discipline is a double edged swordDubai, UAE: Educators, parents and students say discipline in schools can have no impact if it was implemented incorrectly.

Children spend more time in school than home, so it was no surprise when parents, students and educators interviewed by Gulf News unanimously agreed it was necessary that discipline was maintained in a proper way.

They stressed it may not always be effective if it was overdone, underdone or unfair.

“My school exaggerated when it comes to detention,” said Lebanese Ayah Mohammad, a graduate at a Shajrah school. She recalled her school days to give an example.

“They gave detention for every little thing. If you spoke in class, forgot your pen, pencil, rubber and even if you chewed gum — you get a detention. I got so many detentions, it had no effect on me and other students. In fact we got used to it and even started enjoying it,” she said.

Ayah said in one of her school years, she accumulated over 70 after-school and lunchtime detentions. “Even my mother got used to me being in detention.”

While maintaining discipline was necessary, Ayah said it shouldn’t be overdone to the point it has no effect.

Mohammad Ahmad, a high school student from Dubai on the other hand said while his school constantly threatens to discipline him and his classmates, they seldom do. “We know they are empty threats, so we would never take them seriously. Unless you do something really big, you can get away with almost everything,” he said.

Grade nine student Karam Ayesh, who goes to a school in Abu Dhabi, said his school and teachers are always unfair when it came to discipline.

“They don’t listen to our explanation; they just hurry in punishing us, which is why I resent them. In many cases I have an explanation for why I am late or why I was speaking in class. I think they should be more understanding, because I am not learning anything and I just hate them.”

Hania Jardaneh, principal of Ittihad Private School’s Mamzar branch believes detention is least effective way to discipline children because children eventually get used to it. She believes taking away an activity or object they like and making deals with students is more effective.

“For example if they do something wrong, we would make a deal with them that we will not inform their parents about it, provided they promise not to repeat the mistake again. It is not about punishing them; the whole point is improving their behaviour.”

CEO of Indian High School Ashok Kumar on the other hand believed counselling is the most effective discipline method in schools.

“We first try to resolve concerns or issues with the child, through counselling, if there is still any misbehaviour on part of the student, we involve the parents and concerned authorities, while helping the child understand [the gravity] of his actions.”

According to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), UAE law does not permit corporal punishment of any kind.

Clive Pierrepont, Director of school communications at Taleem Schools said school discipline in most cases is effective so long as students understand why measures or sanctions are being taken and any punishment helps build not break the relationship with the school.

“We believe in giving students time to reflect on what has gone wrong. We do not call it detention because there can be a positive aspect. All students make mistakes and they should be given the opportunity to reflect and rehabilitate because the important aspect of any incident is the opportunity to learn positive lessons from what may have been a very negative experience.”

All school principals interviewed said cases were student actions called for serious action were taken up with the concerned education authority.

Parents said in order for school discipline to work, it is important they [parents] cooperate and teach the same behavioural values at home.

Jordanian May Al Khatib, mother of three said she supported her daughter’s school in giving detentions when she was late to school, even though it wasn’t her fault.

“She was late to class because of her brother, so her teacher gave her a detention. Though I tried to get it cancelled by explaining to the school, in front of her I supported their decision and showed her that I took it seriously so she herself would take it seriously in future.”

Palestinian mother of five, Manal Waleed, also agreed it is important to cooperate with the school.

“You should work as a team with the school when it comes to both academic and behavioural issues for school discipline to be effective. I would support the school decisions when they are fair and never belittle my children. ”

© Gulf News

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UAE students design drone to dissipate fog at airports

uae students design drone to dissipate fog at airports UAE students design drone to dissipate fog at airportsSharjah, UAE: A team of academics and students from Khalifa University have developed a drone for dissipating fog from an airport runway or a busy road within minutes.

The design has reached the last 19 out of more than 400 entries in the international Drones For Good competition held in Dubai.

Dr Reyad El Khazali, the team’s leader, said such a drone was vital for the UAE as the country suffered heavy and disruptive fog conditions in winter that caused problems on roads and at airports.

“We’ve tested it in a closed greenhouse, which generated the fog conditions, and we were able to dissipate the fog in 11 seconds,” he said, explaining that the use of a salt solution created an imbalance between the temperature and the dew point.

“The salt particles absorb the fog particles, which creates the imbalance, allowing us to dissipate the fog. For this project we’re up to 15-20kgs solution capacity in the drone, but in the future we can build a stronger drone that can carry 40-50kgs of solution,” he added.

The environmentally friendly solution is comprises six per cent salt mixed with water to produce a spray that can clear fog.

This month, Etihad Airways had to book thousands of passengers into Abu Dhabi hotel rooms after heavy fog led to the cancellation of 20 flights. The fog also caused disruptions at Dubai airport.

Moza Al Shemaili, 31, one of three female Emirati PhD students working on the project, said the work represented a personal challenge as she often encountered heavy fog during her daily commute from her RAK home to the Sharjah campus.

“I drive early when the fog is still thick and it causes many accidents,” she said. “This would be very successful to use on the main roads.”

The idea originated from the concept of cloud seeding, which is used to artificially create rain. The drones are designed to convert the fog into damp droplets.

Alya Al Mazmi, 21, a fourth-year communications student, said tackling the problems caused by fog affected everyone. “The airports could buy a number of these drones as well as the emergency services vehicles having them ready for dispatch.”

Dr El Khazali said it would cost up to Dh100,000 to construct each drone, an appealing price considering the amount of revenue lost by airports and airlines in fog delays.

The competition winner will be announced on February 7 with a US$1m (Dh3.67m) prize on offer. The Khalifa University team, the only UAE representation in the competition’s final stages, will face teams from such famed US universities as MIT and Stanford.

Ms Al Mazmi said win or lose the team was proud of its achievements.

“It’s time to make people more aware that there are drones that can be used as solutions to problems. Being involved with such new technology and in this field is a very good thing to be a part of, especially as Emirati women.”

© The National

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UAE students warned against fake university courses

uae students warned against fake university courses  UAE students warned against fake university coursesAbu Dhabi, UAE: Students have been warned not to fall for scam advertisements on social-media websites offering bogus online degrees from non-existent universities.

Facebook and LinkedIn are two sites being used to promote fake courses, which often claim to be accredited to ministries or even real universities abroad.

One scam in a Facebook advert promotes a “gulf engineering degree” which, its creators claim, is accredited by the Gulf Ministry of Higher Education and affiliated with the University of Glasgow.

But the ministry does not exist and authorities at the Scottish university said it had no connection to the course.

Dean Hoke, the head and co-founder of the consultancy Edu-Alliance, said there needed to be more awareness to protect the good name of legitimate universities.

“This is damaging the reputation of the institutions out here because people will deem them all the same,” Mr Hoke said.

He said he was worried that “second chance” students, who started higher education but then put their studies on hold, would be most susceptible since they did not have active links to real universities.

“They may not have the background or support and could be easily lured in, especially if they have disposable income,” Mr Hoke said.

He contacted the website offering the degree and was asked for details about his income and credit-card details and was told he could receive a scholarship for about US$6,000, or Dh22,000.

“When people see this and realise it’s a scam, they will say ‘why isn’t the UAE doing anything about this?’” he said.

“There is accreditation here so institutions can’t be tarred with the same brush.”

Peter Aitchison, a spokesman for the university, said it had no link with the course and lawyers in Glasgow had been told to ensure that all references to it were removed from the internet. “It’s disturbing to potential students that sites such as this do exist,” said Mr Aitchison.

“We would urge anyone who has an interest in coming to Glasgow to contact us first.”

Last year, the Ministry of Higher Education launched a list of online accredited institutions. It regularly warns potential students to contact it before enrolling in online study.

“The Gulf and UAE are vulnerable due to their perceived wealth and a population wanting higher education,” said Mr Hoke.

“These companies must be making money since marketing on Facebook is not cheap, nor are the telemarketers calling from China.

“Social media is helping to push this so there should be a way of monitoring this once it’s apparent that it’s a scam.”

Dr Rahul Choudaha, chief knowledge officer at World Education Services, a non-profit research organisation in New York, said the increase in fake degrees was fuelled by the ease of selling through technology and demand from people who wanted a short-cut to credentials.

“The Gulf is a competitive, migrant labour market where earning potential increases substantially with advanced credentials,” Dr Choudaha said.

“In addition, there are a wide variety of foreign university partnerships operating in the region, which makes it difficult to keep up with the legitimacy of the credentials from the employers’ perspectives.

“The solution is not only stronger punitive measures, but also increases in provision of easily accessible information about various foreign credentials and providers in the region.”

Dr Natasha Ridge, head of research at the Al Qassimi Centre for Policy Research in RAK, said these universities posed risks to students, who would have virtually worthless degrees, and to the overall quality of the higher education sector.

The website offering the degree, which responds to interest from students in a matter of minutes, refused to comment.

© The National

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Salem named president of University of Wollongong in Dubai

salem named president of university of wollongong in dubai  Salem named president of University of Wollongong in DubaiDubai, UAE: Professor Mohammad Salem has been appointed president of the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD).

Salem joined the institution in 2004. He has served as dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences and a 10-month period as acting president of the university.

The new president has a doctorate in computer science from the University of Montreal (Canada) where he also earned a doctoral scholarship from the IBM Centre of Advanced Studies (Toronto).

Salem said: “I am passionate about and committed to education in the UAE and the region — both of which offer huge potential for growth. I believe the University of Wollongong in Dubai has an important role to play. I am very excited to continue working with a body of committed staff, students and stakeholders to develop strategies for continuous improvement in teaching, learning and research, further extending our commitment to putting Dubai and the UAE on the map as a global hub for knowledge exchange.”

© Gulf News

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Let there be light

let there be light Let there be lightSharjah, UAE: Sharjah Thousands of children in Sharjah are forced to wait for their school bus in the cover of darkness because street lights are switched off 45 minutes before daybreak. Fearing for their safety, parents are now calling on authorities to keep the lights on at least until sunrise.

“It’s unnerving to see children as young as three and four standing on dark, deserted streets on their own,” said Al Majaz resident Arshad, who escorts his eight year-old son to the school bus, often carrying a torch.

“Forget the little ones, even I feel unsafe when I step out of my building around 6.30am to see off my teenage daughter,” said Indian housewife Kavita who, lives in Abu Shagara. “The Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) should take school winter timings into account and extend the timings of street lights by one hour,” she said.

School buses in Sharjah start arriving as early as 6.30am, but the streetlights are switched off around 6.15am, plunging the entire city in darkness.

“I am not exaggerating but it’s so dark you can even see the stars. Without streetlights, I fear that my child might get hurt while waiting for the schoolbus, be left behind as the conductor may not see them waiting or even worse, board the wrong bus,” said A. Majid, a Lebanese parent of a grade three student.

Working women, including school teachers, also raised concerns about their safety.

“Last month, a woman’s purse was snatched at the spot where I wait for my bus,” said a Filipina cashier who boards an office bus from Al Majaz to her workplace in Business Bay in Dubai.

© Gulf News

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KSA’s education strategy geared toward sustainable development

ksas education strategy geared toward sustainable development KSAs education strategy geared toward sustainable developmentEducation Minister Prince Khaled Al-Faisal said that the Kingdom has launched an ambitious national strategy to achieve sustainable development at all levels through integrated education.

In a keynote speech made at the GCF 2015 which concluded here on Tuesday, Prince Faisal said that it is imperative that states should draw up their plan for education for sustainable development as well as to enable citizens to fit into the society for a peaceful living. To achieve his end, he stressed that the state should not only encourage competitiveness but also develop the human capital with the excepted norms of ethical, social and religious values.

“The Ministry of Education is seeking to develop the students’ level and teach them new skills to keep pace with the evolution of times, we focus on a curriculum that encourages creativity, problem solving, and link education with life and continuous learning and research outside the classroom and making the maximum use of modern technology and access to culture and literature, history and religion, and to identify the rights and obligations of citizens.”

Prince Al-Faisal said the ministry is interested in imparting education that leads to economic prosperity with the help of trained teachers, and promote students’ self-confidence and their potentials in achieving their goals. “Education must encourage students to be innovative and help them do research work in fields that suit their aptitudes.” He also stressed the importance of employing elearning technology and integration of education which would lead to technical and research work.

Kingdom is making a concerted effort to implement its strategies through the King Abdullah Project for Developing Public Education (Tatweer) worth SR80 billion, from the late King Abullah’s vision to make the Kingdom a knowledge base society.

He pointed out that the executive program for the five-year project focuses on producing a healthy generation which would be a valuable asset to the society.

Explaining the future program for education, he said a total of 25,000 teachers will be trained in seven developed countries to provide quality education in the Kingdom and building of 3,200 modern and specialized schools for people with creative abilities in the Kingdom.

He also said the ministry of education is in the process of setting up of 1,000 fitness and social clubs for girls which provide evening classes for deserving people. He added that around 400 clubs have been established in various parts of the Kingdom. The aim is to ensure these clubs are for members of the community, particularly young people, to develop a range of skills, he said.

He said implementation of proper plan for education will lead to an increase in the country’s GDP and increase the number of job opportunities in the country.

The minister also reminded that proper incentives should be given for the teachers to harvest the expected results from them to benefit the students.

© Arab News 2015

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Gulf Education 2015 Receives Endorsement from UAE Ministry of Culture

gulf education 2015 receives endorsement from uae ministry of culture Gulf Education 2015 Receives Endorsement from UAE Ministry of CultureThe organisers of this year’s Gulf Education 2015 are delighted to announce that the event will be held under the Patronage of H.H Sheikh Nayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development of the United Arab Emirates and Ministerial Delegation.

This year’s event is taking place on 18-19th March, and following great demand has moved from its birth place of London, and will be heldat the DusitThani Hotel Abu Dhabi in the Gulf Region.

“We are honoured that His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Abu Dhabi, has kindly consented to patronise the event.” Said Event Director, Abdelkhalig Mohammed.

The two-day event is expected to draw a high attendance of educational dignitaries from a number of countries in the region, including pioneers, leaders and practitioners from all over the globe.

This year’s conference will focus strongly on the areas of vocational training and workforce development, and will showcase innovative and effective advances in education globally. The event will continue to provide a strong platform where international partnerships can be formed and an exchange of best practices, expertise and insight can be realised.

The line-up of speakers include; Prof Tawfik Al Khoja, Dr TayebKamali, Prof. Sultan Abu-Orabi, Mr Essa Al Mulla along with key players active in training, recruitment and talent pooling from pioneering industry sectors.

The format of the event will be dynamic and interactive. “We will have an extraordinary line up of policy makers, pioneers in education, and experts in all areas of education development participating and offering their expertise and insight into the progressive and effective ** required to inspire and motivate students and teachers in the transition from student to employee.” Says Abdelkhalig.

With more than 350 delegates, 30 exhibitors and a large number of key supporters, this year’s event promises to provide a strong hub for education providers, academia, potential employers and vocational training entities to network, share knowledge and initiate productive partnerships.

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Gulf Education profile

Gulf Education Conference and Exhibition, Dubai 2015 is a three day event that provides unrivalled opportunities for senior level Gulf and MENA region, UK and global education professionals to meet under one roof & exchange knowledge and grow valuable partnerships. Taking place on evening of 17th until 19th March 2015 Gulf Education will present a packed agenda of case studies, expert insight, networking sessions, exhibition and individual 1-2-1 and valuable private meetings.

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