Abu Dhabi, UAE: A five-week pilot programme that offered afterschool classes to pupils at two Abu Dhabi schools last year helped improve scores by five to eight per cent.
To replicate this success and discourage private tutoring, 31 schools across the emirate will now provide afterschool lessons for pupils enrolled in Grades 8 to 12.
The emirate’s education sector regulator, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), said the lessons are an attempt to raise the overall performance of state school pupils.
Extra tutoring will be given in core subjects, including Arabic, Biology, Chemistry, English, Math, Physics and Science. The lessons are expected to begin this month, but no dates have been announced.
At present, Abu Dhabi has 256 state schools. The quality of education at these institutions is however questioned by parents, despite numerous efforts from educational authorities to enhance pupils’ skills and prepare them for further education.
For one, nearly 80 per cent of pupils applying to federal universities still have to undergo a foundation year that prepares them for university education.
These foundation programmes are expected to be scrapped from 2018, therefore creating an urgent need for better scores at the high school level.
Parents in the emirate also depend heavily on private tutoring, a practice that is strictly discouraged by Adec. In fact, more than half of 40,000 parents surveyed by the authority in 2013 reported their children, enrolled in both public and private institutions, attended paid private lessons.
During the pilot afterschool programme conducted in May 2014, Adec found that pupils who took lessons in English for five weeks were able to raise their scores by eight per cent, while grades in Math improved by five per cent.
More than 70 per cent of pupils who underwent the sessions said they were helpful and would enrol in such programmes if they were offered again, the statement added.
In order to ensure the programme is effective, Adec has also selected highly-qualified teachers who scored more than 91 per cent in an assessment designed to test their efficacy.
Each two-hour afterschool session will be charged at Dh50, or a fee of Dh600 per semester per subject will apply, an Adec official told Gulf News. While classes are open for all pupils, priority will be given to those who need support the most.
Pupils can apply online or through their schools. In addition, children enrolled in schools that don’t offer the lessons can contact Adec for recommendations on other available tutoring centres.
A.H., the mother of a state school pupil, told Gulf News she was happy to hear of the initiative and hoped her son’s school would be among those that conducted the afterschool lessons.
“I want my son to study abroad, but I feel he is not yet fluent enough in English, even in Grade 10. While he does go for private tutoring, I am not satisfied with his progress and I feel qualified teachers at school would be in a better position to help him,” the Emirati said.
Maitha, an Emirati state school pupil enrolled in Grade 11, said she was herself looking for a private tutor to help her perform well in Grade 12.
“I want to pursue a degree in the field of Energy, and would therefore love to get some extra help in Chemistry, Physics and Math.
“While I am willing to pay for private lessons, I would much rather prefer attending afterschool classes,” she said.
© Gulf News