ABU DHABI // All public schools will start teaching pupils in both Arabic and English from kindergarten through to Grade 12 within six years, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has announced. Most public schools already teach one period of English per day, but under the new scheme half their classes will be in one language and the others in the other. Since 2006, the half of public schools being operated in conjunction with private firms have started teaching more classes in English, but the amount varies from grade to grade.
Dr Mugheer al Khaili, Adec's director general, said the move was part of plan for a "new school model" that is under development and was discussed at the Emirates Palace hotel on Monday. The plan is expected to be rolled out in Abu Dhabi's 305 public schools by 2016. Dr al Khaili said the new model would prepare pupils for the competitive global job market while preserving national identity and culture.
"By enhancing schools to meet world-class standards, Adec is providing the facilities and resources necessary for the highest quality education," Dr al Khaili said In 2005, the Ministry of Education found that just 16 per cent of Grade 7 pupils were performing at their grade level and 68 per cent were two or more years behind. Results for maths and science were equally lacklustre. Fifty-five per cent were found to be performing two years or more below their grade level in maths and another 35 per cent were a year behind.
In June, when Adec revealed the highlights of its 10-year strategic plan - aimed at improving student outcomes and producing high school graduates who are prepared for university and ready to compete in the job market - officials said maths and science would be taught in all public high schools by 2012. The vast majority of applicants to the UAE's three federal universities are barred from starting course work and are required to take remedial English and maths classes. Many graduates also require remedial courses in key subject areas such as Arabic.