Adec’s summer programme pulls in 12,000 youngsters

adecs summer programme pulls in 12000 youngsters Adec’s summer programme pulls in 12,000 youngstersAbu Dhabi, UAE: More than 12,000 children have registered for the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s summer education programmes during the first week of activities.

Organisers said the number of participants is climbing by about 1,000 a day as children and parents seek entertaining and educational alternatives to their summer routines.

The Sayfuna Mumayaz programme, which was launched last week and will continue until August 18, gives children and parents a chance to take part in about a dozen free creative and scientific workshops as well as sporting activities focused on the theme of “More Entertainment, More Knowledge”.

Some of this year’s programmes are being offered online and in malls, making it more convenient for families and children to access the workshops.

“During summer, the child doesn’t want to go to school after 200 days of being there every day – they want a change of environment,” said Nasser Khamis, Adec’s extra-curricular activity section manager.

“So we tried to make it online so the children can work from home.”

Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain Mall and City Mall in the Western Region each offer activity stations for children in primary and middle school from 2pm to 10pm every day.

There is a station for children to learn how to cook healthy meals, one for arts and crafts, another for building robots and one for teaching youngsters about recycling by reusing palm leaves and old steering wheels, among others.

The arts and crafts station at Yas Mall was especially busy on Tuesday afternoon with many young girls drawing on paper, clay cups or creating decorative paper aeroplanes led by volunteers.

“They are so creative,” said Shamma Al Ali, one of the volunteers, holding a “Dior” purse made of purple felt cloth sprinkled with gold sparkle, as an example. “It’s summer and I’m sure the kids have free time and they are doing nothing. By bringing them here, they could meet new people, new friends and learn something new.”

For the cooking stations, students must register for a timed slot.

On weekdays, two sessions are offered beginning at 5pm. On the weekends, youngsters will have three chances to make a meal.

On Tuesday, they were learning how to make cheese hamburgers using lean meat. As with all the activities, they are allowed to take their creations home.

Lara Shell said her 10-year-old daughter, Dania, enjoyed taking part in the arts and crafts.

“It is always nice to have such things in malls, kids love them,” said Mrs Shell. “It’s always good in summer because you don’t know what to do, and it’s empty so it’s the best time.”

In addition to malls, Adec has opened two of its newer schools as drop-in community centres for adults and children.

The centres are meant to strengthen community ties between the schools and neighbouring families while promoting health and fitness, according to Adec.

The centres are hosted at Mubarak bin Mohammed School in Abu Dhabi and Al Gahili School in Al Ain.

Boys can visit 4pm to 8pm on Sundays and Tuesdays and girls are welcome 4pm to 8pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Each community centre is staffed by 19 teachers trained to involve the parents and children in swimming, basketball, reading and handicraft classes.

© The National

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New battery technology to boost renewables?

new battery technology to boost renewables New battery technology to boost renewables?Abu Dhabi, UAE: A new battery storage system that can work at up to 20,000 discharge-recharge cycles without dissipating performance is being developed by Abu-Dhabi based researchers that could potentially create a new industry and push renewable energy forward.

Called the vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB), its capacity is limited only by the size of the tanks used to store its electrolytes, say researchers.

The new battery is being developed by Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston to push innovative energy storage technology.

MIST an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies.

Dr. Saif Almheiri, an assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at the Masdar Institute, is working with MIT on this unique electrochemical energy storage technology.

He said the innovative solution has the potential to be a key storage system for electrical power sourced from renewable and conventional energy.

“Coming up with ways to store renewable energy so it can be banked when plentiful and distributed when needed is one of the more exciting engineering challenges. There are a few solutions in the market today, but they tend to be expensive and cannot be used in all the operating environments that require renewable energy uptake. But the technology we’re working with has the potential to overcome these obstacles,” Dr. Almheiri explained.

Storage technology is seen as crucial for the renewable energy to double its share of the electricity sector by 2030. The Masdar-MIT battery aims could help the UAE store its renewable energy in a secure and dependable manner, he said.

Demand
Developing such a novel energy storage system could also provide the UAE with a valuable product for global energy storage market, which is forecasted to reach $113.5 billion by 2017.

With an effective and realistic energy storage technology, the UAE will be able to take advantage of its plentiful solar and wind energy, providing the country with clean power to take it into the next century.

He believes the needed breakthrough in electrochemical energy storage will be in Redox Flow Batteries (RFBs).

An RFB is a rechargeable battery built around two chemical components dissolved in liquids contained within different tanks in the system and the flow of the liquids is separated by a membrane, allowing the electrical energy to be stored in chemical energy, and then converted back into electrical energy when wanted.

Dr. Almheiri is now collaborating with MIT scientists to develop the novel non-water-based VRFB system that provides the higher conductivity, better solubility limits and stable electrodes that tomorrow’s reality demands.

Promising solution
“One of the most promising of all of the redox solutions is one based on the metal known as vanadium. Vanadium can exist in a solution in several different oxidation states, so it can effectively take the place of both of the necessary chemical solutions in the RFB – meaning it can be vanadium on each side of the cell. Using the same element avoids the risk of contamination across the membrane that can otherwise, over time, impair or damage a battery,” he explained.

Another advantage of the VRFB is that its capacity is limited only by the size of the tanks used to store its electrolytes.

An electrolyte is a substance that ionises when dissolved in suitable ionising solvents such as water. A substance that dissociates into ions in solution acquires the capacity to conduct electricity. On the other hand, ionisation is the process by which an atom or a molecule acquires a negative or positive charge by gaining or losing electrons to form ions, often in conjunction with other chemical changes.

Vanadium is a hard, naturally-occuring silvery grey and mallaeable metal present in 65 minerals (chemical symbol V and atomic number 23). It is easily able to handle the give-and-take of electrons that is crucial to a rechargeable battery, making it a very stable source element, said the researchjers.

A VRFB can be discharged and recharged 20,000 times, maintaining their near unchanging battery performance for decades.

This technology, however, is not yet fully optimised. Using a water-based solution to hold the electroactive vanadium imposes two limitations.

First, it requires the operating temperature range for RFBs to be limited to 0-100oC, so the water does not freeze or evaporate.

Second, the open circuit voltage is limited to only 1.2V to keep the water solution electrolytes electrochemically stable, which restricts the energy density of RFBs.

“To help VRFB, we are looking to discover new solvents to replace the water. This could allow the open circuit potential to exceed 1.2V, enhancing the energy density of the RFB,” Dr. Almheiri said.

Moving forward, Dr. Almheiri and his team will examine various supporting electrolytes and solvents and design advanced electrodes, which conduct electricity, with improved electrochemical reactions and stability.

They intend to build a working flow battery cell and will test the system’s stability and ability to cycle back and forth – charging, discharging and recharging.

© Gulf News

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NUKS-USA Branch Headquarters Opening Ceremony

nuks usa branch headquarters opening ceremony NUKS USA Branch Headquarters Opening CeremonyKuwait: Kuwait Finance House (KFH) participated in the opening ceremony of the new headquarters of the National Union of Kuwait Students (NUKS), USA branch in Shuwaikh as part of its social responsibility and its continued support to the union’s various activities.

The NUKS – USA branch headquarters represent a platform for students and the union’s members to communicate and provide support for scholarship students by illustrating for them the educational systems applied in USA, the most prominent universities and an overview of the USA economy.

After cutting the ribbon ceremony to officially open the headquarters, General Manager Human Resources and General Services at KFH , Zeyad Al-Omar urged students to optimally utilize their capabilities and translate them into practical steps in an effort to contribute to achieving comprehensive development and prosperity in the country as students are the key pillars in the development process.

It is worth noting that KFH is the strategic partner of the NUKS-USA branch. KFH is keen on supporting youths and empowering them to achieve their goals. In addition, KFH reinforces society linkages and widens students’ horizons towards more success and innovation.

Meanwhile, the students and union’s members commended KFH and applauded its role in providing students and the youth segment in general with all kinds of encouragement and support.

© Press Release 2015

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ADU to launch new student-centered Technical Innovation Centre

adu to launch new student centered technical innovation centre ADU to launch new student centered Technical Innovation CentreAbu Dhabi, UAE: In a bid to encourage and foster technical innovations, Abu Dhabi University is set to a launch a new student-centered Technical Innovation Centre during the upcoming academic year 2015 -2016, aligning its mission with the UAE’s initiative to dub 2015 as the “Year of Innovation”. The Centre is set to house an encouraging environment for entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, providing students from various disciplines with the support, equipment and resources they need to transform their technical ideas from mere concept to actual inventions, thereby participating in the nation’s development process.

Commenting on the importance of this initiative, Dr. Aly Nazmy Dean of ADU ‘s College of Engineering explained that it reflects the University’s strategy in building an integrated system through its colleges, programs and research centers that supports and encourages a culture of innovation and creativity. ” Abu Dhabi University has always been keen on playing a positive role in the UAE’s transformation into a knowledge-based society which is an integral part of the policy agenda of Abu Dhabi’s Government and its Economic Vision 2030. The focus of the design and implementation of this new center is to offer students of various majors a platform that encourages them to utilize their creative and critical thinking skills and work with their colleagues across majors to transform their ideas into reality. The University is also set to invest in the center’s budget, part of which has already been dedicated from the AED 1 Million award that was awarded to four students from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department during the UAE’s 2nd ‘Best m-Government Service Awards’, added Dr. Nazmy.

On his part, Dr. Mohammed Ghazal Assistant Professor and Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at ADU asserted that once established, the new Innovation Centre would be a hub for technical innovations giving students a unique opportunity to transform their ideas into reality. “Whether these ideas are inspired by class projects, or part of their course work, or even their own inventions. The Centre is designed to enhance and encourage creative thinking in a comfortable and collaborative setting, and will not be exclusive to engineering students. We’re hoping that it inspires students from all backgrounds to think outside the proverbial box, and dream of developing new innovations that can benefit the community. Especially since many of Abu Dhabi University ‘s students have already proven their creative prowess winning many prestigious awards along the way, and perhaps the most prominent one is the ‘Special Innovation Award’ of AED 1 Million for the ‘Al Najdah App’, said Dr. Ghazal.

© Press Release 2015

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Getting In Gear: A Back to School Survival Guide for Parents

sylvan learning dubai uae Getting In Gear: A Back to School Survival Guide for ParentsWhile the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn to prepare lunches, fighting over appropriate bed times and regulating the amount of television watched might have you frazzled, take solace in the fact that you can play a big part in getting your children motivated and excited to tackle a new school year.

Our Sylvan Learning tutors in Dubai and Abu Dhabi offer parents the following tips to help their students get off on the right foot this fall:

Help Your Child Discover His/Her Learning Style. Because each child is special, with different learning styles and academic needs, it is important to personalize the learning process. People learn in at least eight different ways, according to the Multiple Intelligences Theory: visually, verbally, physically, mathematically, musically, naturalistically, through group activity or through quiet thinking time. Talk to your child’s teachers about your child’s learning strengths and how best to support them.

Get Back In The Routine. Ease the transition from lazy summer days to the structure of the school year by re-establishing bedtime, mealtime, reading and homework routines. Talk with your child about the importance of structure and how routines help ensure that he is not overtired or overly anxious about schoolwork.

Develop A Family Event Calendar. One of the most helpful tools for getting organized is a family event calendar. To ease the chaos, track school programs, volunteer work and after-school activities. Family time management is essential if you are going to avoid the tumultuous frenzy of disorganization.

  • Depending on your children’s ages, this calendar can be on construction paper with large squares to write in all necessary information, or it can be produced on a white board so that it is easy to revise.
  • If it is color-coded by family member, you can clearly see who has an activity scheduled and when the event occurs.
  • Place the calendar near the telephone, so when a friend’s mother calls to invite your child to a birthday party, you will know instantly whether it fits within your family plans.

Purchase School Supplies In Advance. Avoid the last-minute rush by purchasing supplies at least one week in advance. Take your child. She can feel excited and in control by choosing her favorite colors and designs.

Be a Cheerleader. Encourage your child to share any concerns he has about returning to school. Reinforce positive feelings by talking with your child about learning and achievement. Support his academic interests and encourage him to get involved in extracurricular activities at school.

The author is Jeffrey Smith, Chief Operations Officer at Sylvan Learning in the GCC Region. Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels with more than 35 years of experience and nearly 800 centers located throughout North America, Asia and the GCC Region. Sylvan’s trained and Sylvan-certified instructors provide personalized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. Sylvan also hosts a blog offering tips and resources from moms and education experts. For more information, call 04 434 5400 or visit www.sylvanme.com.

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University to offer 50 new scholarships

university to offer 50 new scholarships University to offer 50 new scholarshipsDubai, UAE: The American University in the Emirates has announced the approval for 50 new scholarships to academically excellent students for bachelor and masters programmes.

The move is another step for the university to educate and encourage the national labour force to continue building and developing this country. Professor Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq, President of the university, said that the scholarships offered will be available for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year. AUE has always given partial scholarships for all government and semi-government sectors in the UAE, he added.

Some of the new bachelor programmes offered at AUE include Insurance and Risk Management, Hospital and Healthcare Management, Security and Strategic Studies, Digital Forensics and Computer Crimes, Digital Animation, and Fashion Design.

Masters programmes include professional masters in Sports Law, Sports Management, Security and Strategic Studies, Arts in Diplomacy, and Library and Information Science.

The university aims to not only focus on serving its academic purposes but also support the society and national economy.

© Gulf News

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Shell supports My School expansion project

shell supports my school expansion project Shell supports My School expansion projectMuscat, Oman: When Nabil al Raisi and his wife Samia, who are running a privately owned educational institute, called ‘My School’, wanted to expand their organisation and make it a state-of-the-art yet affordable school, they turned to the Nomou Fund.

This fund was Shell’s gift to the nation in 2010 and was established to showcase a proven and scalable small and medium sized enterprise (SME) development model. The fund is administered by GroFin, a pioneering SME development and financing organisation.

The Nomou Oman Fund is an innovative business model that was initiated to support viable SMEs and catalyse the sector to support sustainable job creation. The objective of the programme is to provide an integrated solution of growth finance, tailored business support, and access to markets for start-ups as well as existing SMEs across the sultanate. It was especially created to assist entrepreneurs like Nabil and Samia who, in their turn, create much needed employment opportunities and achieve their vision of contributing to the development of the community.

In late 2012, the couple became aware of the Nomou Oman Fund. They immediately made the decision to expand their promising ‘My School’ project with the assistance of the programme. With Nomou’s support, Nabil and Samia added eight new classrooms to accommodate 321 students, and recruited 17 additional qualified teachers and staff members, to increase the tally to a total of 48 employees.

In addition to doubling the school’s capacity, the Nomou Fund has supported the school to expand to a host of services not existing previously, including a fully-equipped computer suite with tens of Apple Macs, all structured around an improved learning experience.

“Thanks to Nomou’s support, continuous guidance and becoming more of a business partner than just a financing company, we have grown in capacity and quality,” commented Samia al Raisi, principal and co-owner of My School. “Now we are confident of reaching our goal of providing quality learning to more than 450 students in the coming school year.”

Nomou’s support for developing My School went beyond financial support to include guidance and counseling on world-class methods in managing accounts & financials, selecting the right accounting & auditing firms and introducing the management to vendors and suppliers as well as helping to build positive working relationships with them. It also opened up opportunities for the school to market its services. Overall, it helped to make the school’s operations easier.

“Education is a must in generating well qualified graduates and enhancing social livelihood in Oman. It is the support we extend to enterprises like My School that helps bring about such positive changes,” says Sami al Hassan, manager of the Nomou Oman Fund and investment executive at GroFin Oman.

“We are proud to assist entrepreneurs like Nabil and Samia al Raisi who contribute in creating much-needed employment opportunities and are passionately engaged in improving their community through education.”

“Shell is committed to Oman’s future and seeks to deliver value to the country through investment in people, technology and projects. One of our priorities is sustainable job creation through entrepreneurship development and the growth of a strong SME sector. The Nomou Fund was established to accelerate this development and it is wonderful to see what a success Nabil and Samia have made of their school,” said Chris Breeze, chairman of Shell Development Oman.

© Muscat Daily 2015

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Mohammad Bin Rashid visits Ministry of Education

mohammad bin rashid visits ministry of education Mohammad Bin Rashid visits Ministry of EducationDubai, UAE: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued directives for enhancing integration and promoting a culture of cooperation between the ministry of education, other education zones in the country and education leaders.

Shaikh Mohammad’s directives were issued during his visit to the Ministry of Education, where he was briefed on preparations for the 2015-2016 new academic year, and on the report about the most important achievements with regard to the implementation of the education development plan for 2015-2021.

Shaikh Mohammad instructed the implementation of the initiative to attract outstanding university graduates and top achievers to work in the education field, and achieve optimal investment in young and qualified Emiratis and integrate them into innovative training programmes to enable them to guide students both inside and outside schools.

“The teacher shoulders great responsibility to prepare an innovative and creative generation capable of interacting with developments in the modern age and fulfilling future requirements,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

Shaikh Mohammad called for creating an environment for stimulating innovation, creativity and excellent performance in order to achieve the goals of the National Agenda and UAE Vision 2021 for developing a modern education structure that keeps abreast with the UAE’s transformation into a smart government.

Shaikh Mohammad was briefed on the progress achieved with regard to amendments to the education plan and developing curricula for Grade 11 students, and developing curricula according to national education standards.

He was also briefed on the education plan designed to provide quality education to students with special needs in order to integrate them into schools, as well as developing an integrative programme to discover talented students and implement a national strategy to nurture them.

Shaikh Mohammad was updated on the expansion of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme and the unique leaps it achieved within three years. A total of 140 schools are currently implementing this programme, and this number is expected to increase to 208 schools in the upcoming academic year.

Shaikh Mohammad met the ministry’s team and was updated on their efforts in governance, enhancing cooperation with other parties in the learning process and building new partnerships to achieve openness towards society on the grounds of transparency and confidence.

Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, and other officials were present.

© Gulf News

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Council shelves decision to raise admission averages

council shelves decision to raise admission averages Council shelves decision to raise admission averagesAmman, Jordan: The Higher Education Council (HEC) on Sunday decided to freeze a decision it adopted last month to raise the minimum admission rates for the Kingdom’s universities by 5 per cent.

Instead, required averages in some majors were lowered.

Minister of Higher Education Labib Khadra said that after studying the results of the General Secondary Education Examination (Tawjihi), the council decided to keep threshold rates for the Kingdom’s public and private universities without change.

Last month, the HEC decided to raise the minimum score for enrollment in state-run universities from 65 to 70 and at private universities from 60 to 65, starting in the 2015-2016 academic year. However, activists and lawmakers objected to the decision, prompting the government to refer the new admission criteria to the council for further examination.

The minister noted that 28,573 students passed Tawjihi this year with a score of 65 per cent and above, which qualifies them to study at public universities, which can absorb at least 31,000 freshmen.

The council will meet next week to decide on the final number of admitted students.

The minister stressed that the minimum admission average is “not a red line” and will be revisited next year, also based on the Tawjihi results.

Khadra also announced lowering the threshold score for some programmes in both public and private universities, including journalism and visual and interaction design at public universities subjects, from 70 per cent to 65 per cent.

The threshold mark for agricultural sciences, law and Sharia was also re-set at 65 per cent, instead of 70 per cent, in both public and private universities. The medical sciences admission rate was also reduced to 70 per cent from 75 per cent in both public and private higher education institutions.

The HEC also decided to restrict admission in some subjects such as early childhood development, child studies and kindergarten education to female students based on a recommendation by the Civil Service Bureau.

Of the total annual admissions, 20 per cent of the seats are allocated for children of military personnel, 5 per cent for children of teachers, 10 per cent for graduates of schools that are classified as “underprivileged”, 350 seats are for students from Palestinian refugee camps and 15 seats are allocated for children of martyrs.

Also on Sunday the council approved the establishment of a medical school at the Balqa Applied University and recommended that it accept 62 students in the upcoming academic year. This raises number of universities that has medicine faculties to five including the University of Jordan, Jordan University for Science and Technology, Mutah and Yarmouk universities.

The council also decided that students interested in studying architecture at any of the Kingdom’s universities should apply directly.

As for the applications for universities through the unified admission list for the upcoming academic year, Ghaleb Hourani, head of the unified admission unit, the process will start either Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the preparations.

© Jordan Times 2015

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Bright students get summer business crash course

bright students get summer business crash course Bright students get summer business crash courseAbu Dhabi, UAE: Twenty-five outstanding public high school students from across the emirate are to attend an intensive summer business course in France.

The programming is offered by the international business school Insead in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).

It is the first project of its kind catering to high-performing secondary school students.

“Summer@Insead is one of Adec’s endeavours designed to equip our youth with the skills necessary for them to be tomorrow’s leaders,” said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, director general of Adec.

“Our students will not only gain the fundamental skills in business and entrepreneurship through a hands-on approach but they will also be exposed to a new culture and heritage.

“This will definitely add value to our students, of whom we are very proud.”

The course, taught in English, uses theoretical and practical interactive exercises and emphasises teamwork to help students learn about business in a way that is relevant to their lives.

Students in the Summer@Insead programme will get to visit historical and cultural landmarks in Paris as well France’s iconic retail shopping destinations, such as the Galeries Lafayette and Louis Vuitton.

“We hope that many of the participating students will go on to pursue further studies in management education and follow successful business careers in the future,” said Peter B Zemsky, deputy dean of Insead.

© The National

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