UAE schools prepare for bumper new term as full programmes return

Pupils can look forward to activities that have been suspended for more than two years due to Covid-19

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International field trips and inter-school competitions will be back at UAE schools in the new term after more than a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Schools have already started taking pupils on field trips to destinations within the UAE in the current term. But many had hesitated to return to international travel.

Private schools in the UAE closed for the winter holidays this week and will open for the new academic term on Monday, January 2.

Growth in pupil numbers and teachers joining schools

January term is typically a time when pupils join schools mid-year, especially if they are relocating from another country.

Simon Herbert, principal of Gems International School Al Khail, said many new pupils and a few teachers would be joining in the new term.

“A lot of pupils are coming to us even in January, so we've got some growth with new pupils coming in,” he said.

“We've got pupils from Russia and Ukraine and from Iran, we've got people from all over the world and from different [education] systems.

“If we've got room in the year groups, we take pupils from other schools in Dubai if they want to switch, though, in January, it's usually from overseas.”

Inter-school competitions will be back

Sports and dance inter-school competitions will resume in the new term as heads explained they had initially been cautious about large gatherings of pupils.

The Indian High School will be kicking off with an inter-school dance competition.

Chief executive Punit MK Vasu said it would be their first inter-school competition post-pandemic.

“We will be hosting the Indian Republic Day at our school, and this is the first time post-pandemic, because every year it was just a truncated version with less than 50 people,” he said.

Pupils can look forward to international field trips

Gillian Hammond, principal at Repton Al Barsha, said the Repton school group had around 11 international trips a year before Covid hit.

“We are starting to get back to those. We're running our international ski trips again to France, which we're really excited about. This will be our first one in February,” she said.

Pupils from The Indian High School will be travelling to India in January for Pravasi Bharatiya Divas where they will have the chance to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This will be the first time pupils at the school will participate in the youth conclave.

School children at Louvre Abu Dhabi's rehabilitation lagoon for rescued sea turtles. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

Parents are part of school life again

Mr Herbert said he was excited to have parents back on campus for events.

He said the school had been able to open up opportunities again in music, art and sports and would soon be putting on the musical Annie.

“The children are really looking forward to that. The big change for us since the pandemic is that parents can come back in,” said Mr Herbert.

“We have a really close relationship with our community, so we've got lots and lots of parents coming back into the school.”

Exams for Indian schools

Indian schools will get ready for major board exams.

India's Central Board of Secondary Education has not notified schools of class 10 and 12 exam dates.

Dr Beno Kurien, principal at International Indian School — Abu Dhabi, said things at the school were finally back to how they were before the pandemic.

He said pupils would be busy with exams in February until the end of March.

More classes on Blockchain and NFT

Several UAE schools have brought in lessons in blockchain, cryptocurrencies and other emerging technologies to prepare them for the job market of the future.

Ms Hammond said they would be launching a project named Web 3.0 month during which they would run blockchain and NFT workshops for parents.

“Then we're actually going to develop these theories with pupils who are going to have the opportunity to develop some digital art, then write the blockchain and protect the art using NFT, so that they own the rights to the piece of art,” she said.

Updated: December 27, 2022, 3:00 AM
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