Stem is the name of the game for Abu Dhabi Education Council

As part of the Journey of Discovery programme, students will be able to join innovation clubs where they can take part in hands-on projects that build critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Parents may be asking children for their preferences with uniforms, but Adec has loftier questions. Antonie Robertson / The National
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ABU DHABI // As thousands of children return to school on Sunday morning, they will be asked to consider the question, “Where is your journey taking you?”

For the answer, Abu Dhabi Education Council is hoping pupils will think big – a career in space, energy, robotics, engineering or maybe medicine.

To help guide the students in that direction, Adec launched the Journey of Discovery: Innovation campaign in which elements of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem subjects) are integrated into the K-12 curriculum across public schools.

Schools will be equipped with innovation centres that include “specialised laboratories in collaboration with major technology companies”, Adec said.

“Students will have the latest technology and tools as well as instructors,” said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, Adec director general.

Students will be able to join innovation clubs where they can take part in hands-on projects that build critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

“It will be a step beyond the science labs or science clubs you may have seen in the past,” Dr Al Qubaisi said.

Stem subjects will be integrated into language classes.

“You cannot separate your learning experience from one class to another,” Dr Al Qubaisi said. “That’s why in the Arabic language class, they will talk about science and maths. We want them to be fluent in their own Arabic language and identity,” Dr Al Qubaisi said.

“This is the way we are infusing Stem from kindergarten to Grade 12.”

A Programming for Life initiative will teach students the elements of computing for various platforms.

The Young Scientist Competition and Abu Dhabi Innovates campaigns will encourage students to compete and celebrate innovators in schools.

Each school will be paired with an innovation leader, who will be charged with coordinating inventive and creative activities.

An innovation ambassador will bring industry experts into the classroom to inspire students to pursue a career in Stem, Adec said.

Public schools will be judged on their efforts in applying Journey of Discovery initiatives through annual inspections, said Dr Ahmed Deria, manager of the school administration division.

Inspectors will look at “how much innovation has been integrated into the curriculum and how the schools are finding opportunities for the students to innovate”, Dr Deria said.

“You know, the way they learn, the way the teachers teach, because the way teachers teach should be innovative, the way students learn should be innovative, the way schools operate should be innovative.

“So, innovation at different levels, that’s what we’re going to inspect. This is the first, this is new from this year,” he said.

Private schools were being invited to join the Journey of Discovery campaign with material being made available for download from an Adec website.

It will affect 128,000 students in 255 public schools and be available to 230,000 private school students in about 185 schools.