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01 December 2023

Mansoor bin Mohammed highlights importance of sporting culture in schools to unearth champions of future


H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council (DSC), emphasised that the leadership places utmost importance on education, with sports being a key element, in nurturing a generation capable of contributing to the nation’s future.

He said that schools play a vital role in inspiring up-and-coming generations to reimagine the future of the UAE and the world in every area. He added that the vitality and joy imbued in young minds through sports and physical education helps hone innate talents and intellects.

Sheikh Mansoor was speaking during a visit to honour winners of the second edition of the Hamdan bin Mohammed Order of Merit for Sports Education School, awarded by the DSC to one public school and one private school in recognition of their outstanding sports programmes and achievements. He conferred the honours on the Dubai International Academy and Al-Maaref School for Boys.

Sheikh Mansoor said that schools in Dubai have come to be favoured by students from diverse nationalities seeking an all-round education. He added that Dubai schools pay great attention to providing a comprehensive education, with a sporting culture further helping to build personalities and sharpen skills, be it in the science lab or stadiums.

He stated, “Thanks to the leadership’s patronage for the education sector and the constant efforts to develop our educational institutions, our schools have produced generations of talents in diverse fields.

“Our schools have been virtual supply chains for our clubs and national teams, shaping prominent athletes and champions who have won prestigious titles in local, regional and international competitions and championships. Therefore, our schools also deserve special recognition and honours befitting the sporting excellence they inculcate. This is the reason behind launching the Hamdan bin Mohammed Order of Merit for Sports Education School, and we are glad to honour the two winning institutions and thank them for their diligence in this regard.”

His Highness was accompanied on the occasion by Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, Chairman of the General Sports Authority and Vice President of the National Olympic Committee; Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology; Maryam Al Hammadi, Minister of State and Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet and Board Member of DSC; and Saeed Hareb, Secretary-General of DSC.

DSC had launched the Hamdan bin Mohammed Order of Merit for Sports Education School as one of the initiatives of the Sports Innovation Lab, which was organised by the Council in 2016, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; and H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.

The award is aimed at encouraging schools to spot sporting prodigies at an early stage and to back them with the necessary training and infrastructure to be ready to represent clubs and national teams or to become champions in individual sports. The programme also supports and popularises sporting events in public and private schools as part of character-building among students.

DSC and International House of Experience visited and evaluated 72 public and private schools for the second edition of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Order of Merit. The evaluation process was based on four factors namely sports excellence, infrastructure, sustainable health initiatives, competence and efficiency of school managements.

Dubai International Academy won the medal from among private schools as it enables its students to practice 19 sports. Some 1,600 students, representing 70 percent of the school’s enrolment, are involved in various sports activities. The school was represented by 164 teams competing in various tournaments nationally and overseas – in Britain, Spain, Italy, Sri Lanka and India – through the academic year. Teams from the school won 19 titles in the 2022–2023 academic year and 25 students also won sports scholarships. The school hosts 23 championships every year and several of its students have gone on to represent clubs in Dubai and also national teams.

Al-Maaref School for Boys won the honour from among government schools. The school hosts the National Academy of Sports Science for Public schools featuring 59 students. Of the school’s total of 630 students, 210 are affiliated to national teams and various Dubai clubs. The school’s team participates in the annual Rugby Sevens Tournament. Some 90 percent of the students in each class at the institution participate in sports. The school also follows an innovative approach to sustainable health that is applied to all classes.

DSC for its part organised a meeting in October 2022 to introduce managements of public and private schools in Dubai to the categories and criteria of competition during the 2nd edition before making field visits to identify top athletes and teams and reviewing their achievements. Reviews also included sports facilities at each school, besides nutrition programmes and other important factors.