As part of the ongoing communication between the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and the educational institutions to achieve the objectives of the education Strategy, Adec has held three extensive meetings with directors of schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region.
The last meeting was conducted on Thursday in Al Tamayoz Model School in Al Ain, Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaily Director General of Adec was accompanied by Mohammad Salem Al Dahiri, School Operations Executive Director, and a number of Adec Officials.
Al Khaili stressed that the council will provide all elements of a motivating environment for citizens working in the field of education and will constantly promote their academic and professional skills so they can reach the highest international standards.
He also encouraged UAE nationals to embrace the noble career of teaching, and emphasised the importance of the UAE nationals role in the success of the education development process undertaken by the council. The goal being to achieve the four key aims underlying the education development strategy. These areas are: to improve the quality of education in schools of the emirate in accordance with the highest international standards; to provide equal opportunities for appropriate education for each student living in the country; to provide private education options and prepare the children to play an active role in the society while preserving the national identity.
He said the UAE nationals working in the educational sector will not in any case face redundancy during the upgrading process undertaken by the council since the strategy was launched last year and there are new restructuring plans which involve redistribution of national workforce to the new school structures and regional offices adopted by the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi recently.
He reassured them that the school mergers will not affect any one negatively because it's a normal process that accompanies the demographic growth and the urban expansion in the different zones of the emirate, especially with part of the population moving to live in the suburbs and all this has led to reconsider the distribution of schools to keep pace with these developments.
The Director General added that the council appreciates the role of all those who work hard to deliver the knowledge message and endorse the responsibility of raising generations and values their integrity in carrying the burdens, which makes education one of the most sacred professions ever. This is why, he explained, that the council will harness all means available to provide stability. He also pointed out that the council is currently preparing to issue soon "Mazaya Card" for the council's employees; this card includes discounts, some privileges and other facilities for the education sector UAE citizen employees to enjoy.
He also answered directors and school principals' questions about the number of issues such as the admission of non-local students in public schools, stressing the commitment of the council to the acceptance policy which is determined by the Council of Ministers Resolution regulating the acceptance of children of expatriates in the public schools stipulating that the number of admissions should not exceed 20 per cent of students per school, and the same rate applies to the grade sections within the same school. The decree also stipulated that the number of students in the same section should not to exceed the density limit identified in the registration and admission regulations for public schools and that the acceptance of expatriate students shouldn't require opening new sections.
The resolution requires that the candidates for grades 2 to 12 to pass the previous year and to pass the entry tests with no less than 90 per cent of average in the subjects of Arabic, English and Math, in addition to the personal interviews conducted by the competent technical committee in the school applied for.
In response to a question concerning the existence of differences in the privileges included in the health card received by Adec employees compared to other institutions within the emirate, he said that all employees of the Government of Abu Dhabi enjoy the same health coverage benefits, including Adec employees.
He urged school administrations to focus on good preparation for the three international student performance tests: Pisa, Pirls and Timss introduced by the council for the first time to measure the level of their achievement compared to their peers from other countries, especially in the developed countries, so as to determine the real level of our students and to identify weaknesses and areas of high performance and skills.
Mohammad Salem Al Dahiri, Executive Director of School Operations at the council, talked about the completion of the new school structure and the appointment of head of departments for the section of school operations and this will contribute to advancing the work in the field of education and raise the level of performance towards achieving the objectives of the council.
He pointed out that starting from the next academic year the council will start the application of the academic accreditation system in public schools after signing a contract with an international institution specialised in this area in order to be able to measure the level of performance and identify negative and positive aspects which would support the development efforts undertaken by the Council to upgrade our educational outcomes.
Then he talked about the Emsa test, which will take place between March 20-24, 2011 from the third to the 11th grade in the four main subjects: Science, Mathematics, Arabic and English, pointing out that the result of this test will constitute 10 per cent of the total student final results.
Al Dhahiri also stressed that the council is currently working on defining a school uniform for first stage male pupils and some designs will be prepared for this purpose through specialised companies and presented to the schools, the council is also preparing a new attendance control system that will be applied in schools.
Hamad Al Dahiri, Director of Infrastructure and Facilities Division, talked about the departments of his division, including the Department of Planning and the Educational Establishments Design department and the Department of Contract Management and the Department of Facility Management.
He spoke about the update program applied by the Council in coordination with Musanada. This program's aim is to have all Abu Dhabi schools either renovated or brand new in four years time. He said that 15 new schools in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi are currently in the completion stage, 11 of which will be open next year in Al Ain and 4 in Abu Dhabi, the council will receive 4 new schools in the Western Region and 4 Kindergartens in Al Ain as well as a teacher accommodation building in Delma Island, the completion of Insead college building in Abu Dhabi, the completion of the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi in Al Reem Island and the supervision of Zayed University campus construction in coordination with Mubadala, in addition to the renovation of 20 schools transformed into modern schools according to the international standards.
Humaid Abdullah, Student Affairs Manager, spoke about the departments of his section and the tasks entrusted to them, including the Department of testing which ensures the administration of student assessments according to the Council's standards and oversees marking and analysis of grades and testing procedures in coordination with the Department of Testing, then he mentioned the School Health Department role in ensuring the provision of necessary health care for students, the Department of Student Counseling established to create the required partnerships to provide guidance for students.
In his commentary on the functions of the Department of Student Affairs, he discussed the tasks of the Department of Student Activities and reiterated his support for those activities in terms of planning and providing needed materials to carry out these activities as they represent an important element in the educational process. He also stressed the importance of organising contests between schools and explained the tasks of school libraries such as book procurement contract management and library equipment in coordination with the competent authorities of the Council. Then he spoke about the functions of the department of registration and acceptance functions related to data and student records and grades and certification, and the supervision of the student data system.
Dr Saleh Al Hashimi, Director of Professional Development Division at the council, spoke of the role of the administration in developing educators and administrators skills by providing the finest training programs based on the Council's standards and methods using technologies that facilitate access to information or the target skill needed to contribute in raising the level of performance in their schools and reflects on the students' levels of achievement.
He said that the administration has three roles: first assessing the current skills of education sector employees, secondly to select the appropriate training programs, and third, closely follow-up training programs implementation and results.
Saoud Salem Al Neyadi, Manager of Customer Service Section, presented the functions of his department, which is concentrated on the development of policies and procedures aimed at providing services needed by all categories of the public dealing with the council according to the highest standards and development of key performance indicators for customer service centers in all areas and schools of the emirate and review the performance reports for each center measured through questionnaires and studies and put the amendments to ensure constant improvement of the level of performance.
He also spoke about the role of customer service employees and the services provided by the centers such as the delivery of the students' results, certificate authentication, registration, students transfer between schools and regions, as well as between literary and scientific sections, delivery of academic programmes and other tasks of the department.
Paul Albert, director of school administration department, spoke about the Department's tasks and communication methods. These tasks include the school principals and teachers' performance assessment, providing them with technical support, implementing the new school model plans, supporting strategic programs and special projects, such as robot program and French schools, etc in addition to the management of PPP school contracts and assessing those institutions.
Corporate identity of the council
Fatima Abdul Jalil, of the Department of Strategic Communications and Media, spoke of the Council's new corporate identity and made a presentation to the board of the new logo symbolism. She pointed out that this brand new logo is a reflection of the council's new vision for the development of new education system to achieve the vision of Abu Dhabi 2030. She also stressed out during the presentation the need to unify identity information between the Council, the schools and regional offices under one slogan "READ" so that the logo appears on all correspondences and publications issued by all these parties.
She also talked about the role of Strategic Communications and Media Division in highlighting the Council's activities, programs and initiatives to support the educational process and enhance communication between the Council, the educators and the society in general.