More than 1 million school trips to Expo 2020 Dubai planned

Several schools have already taken their pupils to the site to see construction progress

School children visit the Expo Dubai 2020 site. Courtesy Expo 2020 Dubai
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Tens of thousands of pupils will visit Dubai Expo 2020 once it opens in just under a year’s time.

This month, the Ministry of Education signed an agreement with private education groups across the country, committing to more than one million school visits to the 4.38sq km Dubai South site.

Organisers said special tours would teach children the history and significance of expos and build on the numerous school visits that have been carried out so far.

More than 1,000 pupils from Dubai British School groups have been to the construction site and there are plans for 9,000 children from school developer, Taaleem, to visit the area.

“The children have a good understanding not just about where the expo site is physically but also what the reason behind the expo is and the opportunities made available,” said Brendon Fulton, principal of the Dubai British School in Jumeirah Park.

“As part of our social studies programme we want them to reflect on how important it is that this is being held in Dubai, what this means for the legacy of the UAE and its vision for a sustainable future.”

The school hopes pupils will be inspired enough to participate in a young innovators challenge. The winners will have their ideas for inventions featured online or at the expo.

“We are looking at giving pupils an opportunity to think of their own inventions across the three Expo 2020 themes of the opportunity, mobility and sustainability," said Mr Fulton.

“One thing all of them wanted to know at the start was what the expo actually is. So we did a lot of work looking at different inventions that took place at expos in the past.”

The Visitors’ Centre presents quirky information about inventions displayed at previous expos — such as Heinz tomato ketchup being introduced at the Philadelphia World Exposition in 1876.

School children at the Expo 2020 Visitor Centre learn that Heinz ketchup was introduced to the world at the Philadelphia World Exposition in 1876. Courtesy Expo 2020 Dubai

The telephone was also displayed for the first time at that fair and, almost a century later, the mobile phone at the 1970 Osaka World Fair.

Site visits to Dubai South also have children thinking about getting involved in the Expo 2020 Young Stars challenge.

Some are now chalking up plans to perform at the giant Al Wasl Plaza domed structure, creating shows that capture the spirit of the world fair.

“We are brainstorming to try to think of ideas centred on the Expo 2020 themes,” said Shreya Parikh, 13, from Indian High School in Dubai, who recently visited the site with her parents.

“It will be very different from our school performances. We need to think of a theatrical show that has a broad plot and is not too heavy on dialogue so it will be understood by people who speak different languages.”

Schools keen on signing up have been asked to send information, photographs and video of past performances with specifics about originality in musical scores and themes.

"Expo 2020 is placing school pupils at its heart and contributing to a positive, lasting impact on our children's present and future," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group and chairman of the Higher Committee of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Four school tours — The World of Opportunities, The Universe in Motion, The Sustainable Planet and The Legacy of UAE — have been designed and will run throughout the six-month expo.

Tickets cost Dh50 per pupil per trip and schools can register on an online system by year end.