• Pearson leads the way with the new 9-1 grading scale for International GCSEs

    Dubai, UAE – Pioneering students across the UAE received their first IGCSE results in English and Mathematics with the new 9-1 grading scale adopted by Pearson Edexcel.

    The 9-1 grading scale replaces the A*-G grading system for IGCSE marking, with 9 being the highest grade, and 1 being the lowest. The 9-1 grading methodology is widely known and recognized as the new standard for GCSE in the UK and is accepted by universities globally for student admission. 

    Kathryn Booth, Head of Academic Qualifications for Pearson Middle East congratulates all students in the UAE receiving their IGCSE and GCSE results today commenting, “We are particularly excited to see the first cohort of IGCSE learners take home the highest grade on the 9-1 grading scale, introduced after extensive consultation with school leaders and teachers. We know this new grading scale will be used by some of the most prestigious global universities to differentiate top-performing applicants and we wish every student receiving their results today the very best of luck with their future endeavors.”

    Tim Hughes, Principal at Al Yasmina School, Abu Dhabi added, “We are delighted with this year’s results. The new 9 to 1 GCSE grading system has been a huge success and will equip our students with the qualifications and skills they need for future success”. 

    “A lot of content was passed from A level down to International GCSE and GCSE making the courses more demanding but preparing students more effectively for A Level,” added Thomas Meakin, Head of Assessment at Aldar Academies Group, Abu Dhabi.

    This year’s International GCSE results will be the first to include 9-1 grades which will be rolled out to all other International GCSEs over by next June 2019. With nine levels of performance rather than eight, the numerical grading scale provides greater differentiation of the highest performers at the top end, rewarding student achievements, in turn helping them make informed decisions about their A-level and university choices. 

    “This is more than just a new grading scale and is intended to better recognize the achievements of high-attaining students and to ensure parents have greater clarity over how their child performs in their exams,” added Booth.The changes have been welcomed by students too. John Andrew Tampubolon, International GCSE (9-1) student at Al Yasmina School, Abu Dhabi commented, “The 9-1 grading scale on the International GCSE system is highly recommended, recognizing top tier students in that year. Moreover, because this system is recognized globally, students like me have a better opportunity to study abroad.” 

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  • Pearson and Nesta announce research initiative designed to predict the skills and competencies required for employment in 2030

    Research should help to shed light on the future of the workforce, and develop education systems that will fulfil future workforce demands.

    Dubai: Learning company Pearson and innovation foundation Nesta today announce a research partnership in collaboration with Michael Osborne (Oxford Martin School) which is designed to provide businesses, governments and education experts with new insights and evidence about the skills and competencies which will be required in the future economy.

    Through Employment in 2030: Skills, Competencies & the Implications for Learning, the research team will provide recommendations for how education, job training and other workforce development efforts can shift practice today in an attempt to better prepare the workforce of tomorrow.

    “Businesses, governments and schools are struggling to adapt to the pace of change required to prepare the workforce of tomorrow. This world-class research partnership provides an opportunity for us to learn now about the skills and competencies that will be needed tomorrow - and to prepare accordingly.” - Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor to Pearson.

    At the heart of the research are two cutting-edge methodologies that are rarely combined:

    • foresight exercises featuring sector experts who will examine the trends that will shape the jobs market in the future, how they will interact, and what that means for the demand for different types of jobs; and
    • a machine learning algorithm deployed on O*NET data (a US Department of Labor occupational database that offers a wealth of insights into the skills and competencies required for nearly 1000 occupations).

    Through this novel methodology the research team will be able to predict the likely demand for different skills, and skill combinations, for the jobs economy of 2030.

    “This research will provide a substantial contribution to answering some of the most pressing questions that education faces. By extending beyond the effects of automation to examine the wider set of profound trends that will shape the demand for skills in 2030, and by coupling expert foresight exercises with machine learning, we will be able to surface novel insights that policy makers and practitioners can have the confidence to act on.” - Hasan Bakhshi, Senior Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics, Nesta.

    The project builds on Carl Benedikt Frey and Osborne's seminal 2013 paper on The Future Of Employment, in which they found that up to 47 percent of total US employment is at risk from computerization. It also extends the existing collaboration between Hasan Bakhshi and Michael Osborne , who worked with Carl Benedikt Frey (of the Oxford Martin School) to detail the power of creativity - read in a wide sense - to future-proof work. [1]

    "I am optimistic that there will still be plenty of good jobs available in fifteen years’ time, but it's clear that many of these will require mixes and depths of skills that are currently rare. To plan for this, we need greater insight into what these skill combinations will be. We also need learning - across ages and stages - to begin to prepare for these probable futures." - Michael Osborne, Oxford Martin School.

    As a region investing heavily into workforce development and planning, the countries of the GCC will find the research, and its findings, particularly useful.

    “The GCC has a unique set of circumstances which make predicting the future of the workforce here very important. With a large percentage of the population under the age of 25, it is critical that we get workforce planning right. Economic diversification efforts of governments across the GCC mean that in all likelihood, the jobs required in ten or 20 years’ time will be very different to those in demand right now. We therefore need to be concentrating on ensuring that we are getting education right. That is, giving young learners across our region the kind of skills and knowledge that will make them successful as they leave school and progress in their careers”. – Karim Daoud, Managing Director, Pearson Middle East.

    Pearson and Nesta will share the findings of this research publicly in order to facilitate dialogue with educators, policymakers and others who seek to understand the impact of technological advancements on the future jobs economy, and the implications for how education can best be organized to prepare learners today for the jobs of tomorrow.


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  • Pearson launches Teacher Professional Development Service in the Middle East

    Service aims to improve teacher standards throughout the region

    Pearson has announced the launch of a new service in the Middle East designed to improve the quality of education and training received by the region’s teachers.

    The Pearson Teacher Professional Development Service has been officially available throughout the Middle East since October 1st, 2016. The launch will allow schools, training centres and government departments to have access to teacher professional development content, as well as having their delivery of this content quality assured.

    A centre undertaking the Pearson Assured Teacher Professional Development Service will:

    - Undergo a quality assurance process.
    - Have centre trainers undertake a Pearson Master Teacher Trainer Course.
    - Access licensed teacher training content from the international Pearson catalogue of courses.
    - Have access to Pearson Assured course certificates.

    This Service has been designed to ensure that centres offering professional development programmes for educators comply with international standards of best practice, and that the programmes undertaken by educators are rigorously reviewed and verified by independent experts. Centres who have undergone the Service will be assessed by Quality Advisors annually, reviewing the validity and reliability of the centre’s quality systems and providing guidance on how they can be improved. This focus on quality extends to ensuring that the institution’s delivery of the Pearson course materials is interactive and engaging, and that delivery methodology meets stringent standards.

    Pearson has launched the Service in the Middle East as education agencies across the region seek to improve teacher effectiveness and teacher standards at all levels as a way of raising overall education standards and improving learner outcomes.

    Amanda Collins, Pearson’s Director of School Services in the Middle East says:

    “Research shows that one of the most important factors in improving student performance is effective teaching. Having teachers undergo regular, high quality professional development is essential to ensuring students are given their best chance of realising their potential. By making the Pearson Assured Professional Development Service available to centres offering these professional development programmes, we are giving more teachers in this region the opportunity to receive world-class training. I am confident that this will have a positive impact on those teachers’ students, and contribute to the overall improvement of school standards”. With the introduction of teacher standards and licensing in countries across the region it is more important than ever that the professional development provided to teachers is of the highest quality”.

    Pearson Assured currently works with more than 5,400 education institutions worldwide, as well as a number of public service agencies, professional bodies and corporations offering in-house training, including British Telecom (BT) and McDonalds. For more information, visit:


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  • Results of Global Teacher Effectiveness Survey released for the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar

    Students in the region value disposition over knowledge when assessing what makes an effective teacher.

    Pearson has announced the results of a global teacher effectiveness survey conducted across 23 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    Survey participants, which included students, teachers, parents, and school administrators were asked, “what do you think are the most important qualities of an effective teacher?”.

    Survey respondents did not focus on how much a teacher knew or what kind of teaching methods he or she used, but rather on the teacher’s disposition. The most common response in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as in the other countries surveyed was that it is relationships between teachers and students that matter most.

    Across all participating countries the ability of the teacher to develop trusting, compassionate relationships with students was valued most. This is true regardless of the respondent’s gender, public or private school affiliation, or whether he or she was thinking of a primary or secondary teacher. The next most valued quality was a patient, caring, and kind personality. Responses show that stakeholders most strongly value a teacher’s ability to connect with students and the personality characteristics that facilitate those connections.

    The publication of the research comes at a critical time, as governments and education stakeholders in the countries of the GCC look to enhancing teacher effectiveness as a way of improving overall education standards.

    Marketing Director for Pearson in the Middle East, Sue Mainey, believes that the research will be of great assistance to the region as the value of great teachers becomes increasingly recognised. She says:

    “The evidence is clear – the single most important determinant of a learner’s school-based success is the effectiveness of their teacher. We therefore need to look at ways we can make teachers more effective, and this newly released research provides unique insights into what makes an effective educator. We can start to build the findings of this research into policies and programmes in this region, ensuring that this survey has a meaningful impact on promoting outcomes for teachers, and learners”.

    The top 10 most important qualities of teachers identified in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are as follows.

    The top 10 most important qualities of teachers in the UAE were identified as:
    1. Ability to Develop Trusting, Productive Relationships
    2. Subject Matter Knowledge
    3. Patient, Caring, Kind Personality
    4. Teaching Skills/Pedagogical Practices
    5. Professionalism
    6. Engaging Students in Learning
    7. Ability to Make Ideas and Content Clear
    8. Knowledge of Learners
    9. Dedication to Teaching
    10. Emphasis on Developing Students’ Non-Cognitive Skills

    The top 10 most important qualities of teachers in Saudi Arabia were identified as:
    1. Ability to develop trusting, compassionate relationships with students
    2. Ability to engage students in learning
    3. Subject matter knowledge
    4. Teaching skills
    5. Patient, caring, kind personality
    6. Professionalism
    7. Ability to make ideas and content clear
    8. Knowledge of learners
    9. Dedication to teaching
    10. Intelligence

    The top 10 most important qualities of teachers in Qatar were identified as:
    1. Ability to Develop Trusting, Productive Relationships
    2. Subject Matter Knowledge
    3. Ability to Engage Students in Learning
    4. Teaching Skills/Pedagogical Practices
    5. Patient, Caring, Kind Personality
    6. Professionalism
    7. Ability to Make Ideas and Content Clear
    8. Knowledge of Learners
    9. Dedication to Teaching
    10. Intelligence

    For more information, including free access to the full reports, visit:


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  • Pearson brings virtual reality learning technology to Middle East

    Pearson, Microsoft and Google collaborate on state-of-the-art learning technology.

    Dubai: Pearson launched its latest augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) educational technology in the Middle East. This includes content for Microsoft HoloLens, the brand new augmented reality viewer, as well as content for VR including interactive 360° courseware. Microsoft’s HoloLens, is the world’s first untethered augmented reality system. HoloLens is a device that allows users to interact with holograms within their own environment, creating enormous opportunity for enhanced experiences in the classroom. Pearson is Microsoft’s Education Sector Launch partner for the HoloLens device and is currently running a series of trials at schools globally. The content created by Pearson for the device includes a ‘Build a Castle’ app, where students can create their own medieval European castle.

    Pearson is developing interactive VR 360° content to be used via devices such as Google Cardboard as well as via any web browser. Pearson is developing this immersive content to bring student to places, or to time periods that they would otherwise not be able to experience. Pearson has developed content including a 3D tour of the London Transport Museum, given from the perspective of Albert Stanley, a British-American businessman who saved the London transportation system in the early 1900s.

    Pearson’s unveiling of the AR/VR technology in the Middle East comes as the market for this technology in the region looks set to expand rapidly, given the potential of the technology to enact transformation across a number of sectors. Education, healthcare and gaming are just some of the industries where AR and VR are expected to have an impact as the technology matures.

    Mark Christian, Learning and Innovation Director for Pearson believes that augmented and virtual reality has the potential to advance learner outcomes across the Middle East. He says:

    “The technology used in immersive offerings like that of Google Expeditions or HoloLens was not a possibility only a few years ago. Virtual reality and augmented realty opens up a world of experiences to learners. A fifth grade student in Dubai is now able to virtually experience Mars or the Great Barrier Reef – imagine what that means for engaging and motivating learners. Experiencing these places virtually offers a more enriched learning experience than can be provided by traditional texts”.

    Director of Marketing for Pearson in the Middle East, Sue Mainey, says:

    “AR/VR is affording countless new opportunities for learning. It has the potential to bring learning alive for students all around the world in ways we never imagined possible. As the world’s learning company, Pearson has been at the forefront of the educational revolution virtual reality has triggered. We are committed to ensuring learners reap the benefits of the latest virtual reality innovations and I am delighted to see such widespread interest in the technology here in the Middle East, from learners and educators. I am very much looking forward to seeing the impact virtual reality developments will have on learners in the region over the months and years ahead”.


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  • Parental involvement key to a child's educational success

    GCC parents encouraged to take a more active role in their children's education.

    Pearson, the world's leading education company, has supported comments made by Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), in calling for greater parental involvement in the education system.

    While speaking to an audience of 1,500 school administrators and higher education officials at the second annual Education Leaders Forum, Dr Amal said that parents need to be more aware about what their sons and daughters are studying at school and be more engaged in their children’s academic and extra-curricular activities.

    Parental involvement in a child’s education has been singled out as one of the key indicators of a child’s educational success. A significant number of studies undertaken in a number of different countries have suggested that regardless of socio-economic background or parental education level, the degree of parental involvement in a child’s education will have a significant, positive impact on the learning outcomes of that child.

    Pearson’s Learning Curve Study, a collection of 2,500 data points on educational, economic and social indicators from the widest array of international educational indicators in existence, supports the view that families have a profound effect on educational outcomes. An adjunct paper to the Learning Curve Study noted that regularly reading to a child in the first year of primary school would increase his or her PISA reading score by age 15 by more than half an academic year. Similarly, even simply discussing political or social issues with 15 year-olds was shown to have a statistically significant effect on their educational performance. Other studies have pointed to parental involvement being closely linked to a child’s school-based behaviour and the likelihood of a child finishing secondary school and entering tertiary education.

    Karim Daoud, Managing Director of Pearson in the Middle East, says that the message for parents and policy makers in the region is clear – policies seeking to improve overall educational indicators must consider parental participation.

    “Parents, even more so than teachers, make the most important contribution to how effective and often how enjoyable a child finds their learning experience. We therefore need to be examining ways in which we can more actively engage GCC parents in school life, at both primary and secondary level. As well as making parents more aware of how important their role is in their child’s education, we need to look at ways we can open up communication avenues between schools and homes and look to reducing system barriers to parental involvement. Parents need to be given the information and the skills needed to become more active participants in the education system”.

    Mr Daoud says never has it been more important to make parents aware of the critical part they play in their children’s academic success.

    “There is no doubt that parents in the region are busy, juggling child-raising with other commitments and responsibilities. This often means we aren’t always fully aware of what is happening in our children’s lives at school. However, in today’s technology driven world there are many ways parents can keep the lines of communication open with their children’s teachers and school leaders. Pearson has collaborated with ADEC to rollout eSIS, the Enterprise Student Information System, a tool designed to encourage parents to engage in their children’s academic performance and keep them regularly updated with important school information. The system has been rolled out in all ADEC schools, ensuring parents across the Abu Dhabi Emirate are given the resources necessary to actively engage in their child’s education”.


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    Pearson Test of English accepted for New Zealand immigration

    Dubai: Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), a leading online language proficiency test, will be an approved proof of English language proficiency for all visa categories with an English language requirement from Monday 21 November this year, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) announced today.

    This means for the first time all visa applicants to New Zealand will have a choice of Government-approved English language testing options. PTE Academic is already accepted by 100 per cent of New Zealand universities and widely used by student visa applicants.

    Karim Daoud, Managing Director of Pearson in the Middle East, said: “I am delighted by the decision of INZ to accept PTE Academic. There are many people in the Middle East for whom immigration to New Zealand is a dream. The recognition of the Pearson Test of English as approved proof of English language proficiency by INZ provides these people with more choice in the type of test they chose to undertake”.

    Vinne Schifferstein, Director Language Testing for Pearson, said: “Pearson is proud to achieve INZ recognition.

    “PTE Academic is a secure English language test that enables test-takers to access their scores quickly.

    “We are also approved by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection for all visa tiers, so the New Zealand Government’s approval further consolidates PTE Academic as the fast growing secure test for visa applications.”

    David Barnett, Managing Director of Pearson Australia and New Zealand said: “For many years applicants from non-English speaking countries, such as India, China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore were limited in their choice of tests to prove their English language proficiency.

    “While our test is academically challenging it is based on the real life English migrants need. The test provides a seamless user experience, from booking, testing, through to receiving results making the process less stressful for applicants and organisations processing a test taker’s application.

    “Pearson looks forward to assisting the New Zealand government with recruiting skilled migrants to their workforce.

    “The computer-based test uses cutting edge technology to ensure score reliability, and integrity of the testing process. It also offers the fastest score reporting in the market, with test takers receiving their results typically within five business days.”

    For more information, visit

    About PTE Academic

    • Accepted for all New Zealand and Australian visa categories requiring English Language Proficiency
    • Accepted by all New Zealand universities and approved by NZQA
    • Accepted by renowned colleges, universities, training providers and professional associations across the English-speaking world, including Harvard Business School, Yale University, INSEAD, and London Business School.
    • Delivered through a global network of overs 200 test centres, including in Auckland where we test every week.
    • For a full list of recognising institutions please visit:


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  • Pearson launches new Global English Language Teacher Award in the Middle East

    Award will recognise teachers in the region who go ‘above and beyond’.

    Pearson ELT has launched a new award to celebrate inspirational teachers. The global Award will showcase teachers from the Middle East, and around the world, who have implemented innovative ways of teaching in their classrooms leading to improved learning outcomes; from the big innovations to the everyday.

    Pearson expects to see a great response from the Middle East, where teachers are adopting new digital tools, implementing new ideas, and coming up with innovative solutions that improve outcomes for their learners. With a growing recognition of the importance of English language skills, the Award recognises the crucial role that teachers from all walks of English teaching play.

    English language is a major educational growth area right across the Middle East, as English language skills are increasingly seen by employers as an important way in which to grow business in a global environment. As a result, quality English language teachers are in demand, and this award will help to identify those teachers who excel in their role.

    Sue Mainey, Director of Marketing for Pearson in the Middle East said; “English language is an important aspect of all levels of education, as it is a means through which individuals can progress their learning, as well as their prospects of career success. It is therefore critical that we have a body of first-class English language teachers available to schools, colleges and universities, so that our region’s learners are given the best prospects of success. This award will pay homage to those teachers who go above and beyond and who are helping to raise standards across the profession”.

    Entries will be judged by a panel of experts from within the ELT community who will be looking for examples of best practice and innovative approaches to improving learner outcomes. Five inspiring teachers will each win an all-expenses paid trip to the forthcoming IATEFL or TESOL conferences where they will enjoy the opportunity to hear the latest theories and exchange ideas with fellow professionals from all sectors of ELT.

    In addition, a People’s Choice winner will be selected by a public vote from the entries submitted. The winner will receive 20 Kindles for their class pre-loaded with a selection of Pearson English Readers. Teachers can self-submit entries or nominate colleagues for the award from now until 1 January 2017 via the Pearson ELT website. The winners will be announced on 25 January 2017.

    Giles Grant, Senior Vice President ELT at Pearson said; “Behind every successful learner there’s a teacher providing fuel and encouragement along the way. This new award will celebrate teachers from all walks of English teaching, particularly those implementing new ideas, adapting tools or creating their own solutions to improve the learner experience“.

    Visit Pearson ELT for more information on the Pearson ELT Global Teacher Award.


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  • Pearson and EdSurge Launch Adaptive Learning Report and Tool in the Middle East

    Free resource will help Gulf educators navigate region’s digital learning market.

    A new report on adaptive learning has been launched in the Middle East by Pearson and EdSurge. The report, Decoding Adaptive, defines adaptive learning in plain terms and examines how an adaptive learning tool can adapt to learner needs and promote learning outcomes.

    The research is the first serious attempt to provide a useful definition of adaptive learning, and a taxonomy to describe how the many different adaptive learning products on the market differ from one another.

    The report holds relevance for educators and school leaders across the Gulf, as adaptive learning tools are increasingly being taken up in schools as a way of improving student results.

    Adaptive learning tools are described in the report as “education technologies that can respond to a student’s interactions in real time by automatically providing the student with individual support”.

    The report is accompanied by an interactive decision making tool that helps teachers determine whether digital adaptive learning tools are appropriate for their students, and provides suggestions as to the category of tool that might be most suitable to their learners’ particular needs.

    Report contributor, Michael B. Horn, a leading education thinker and author of the best seller Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, says:

    “With the large number of adaptive learning tools now available in the market, it is important that educators and school leaders are able to identify the tools that best suit their learners’ needs. There is little merit in using adaptive learning tools that have no impact on improving learner outcomes. Many of these tools hold great promise for helping learners to achieve their potential. However, educators need to be given the skills and tools to navigate the differences between the thousands of different products on the market and select the best tool for their specific learner needs”.

    Managing Director of Pearson in the Middle East, Karim Daoud, says:

    “We are excited to bring this exciting piece of research to the Middle East, where adaptive learning tools are increasingly commonplace in the region’s classrooms and lecture halls. I believe the report, and the accompanying tool, will be of great benefit to our educators as they look to embrace the potential of technology in education. The report helps us all to better understand what adaptive learning actually is – and how it can make learning more personalised and ultimately more effective”.

    The full report can be downloaded here:

    The interactive decision making tool can be accessed at:


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  • Amanda Collins, Pearson's Director of School Services in the Middle East, believes professional development for teachers is essential to raising standard of UAE schools

    A recent article in the UAE's National newspaper reported that over 20,000 students in Abu Dhabi are currently enrolled in schools deemed as weak or very weak by school inspectors.

    The figure was released by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) following the first round of school inspections that have been conducted as part of the new UAE School Inspection Framework. So far in 2016, 41 schools across Abu Dhabi have been inspected, with 19 schools being categorised by the new reporting structure as either "weak" or "very weak". The good news is that two schools have fallen into the "outstanding" category and eight schools classed as either "good" or "very" good.

    The UAE Ministry of Education launched the new School Inspection Framework in 2015 to unify the various school standard systems that had previously been in place across the seven Emirates. Under the Framework, schools are assessed against a number of criteria, including student achievement, personal and social development of students, teaching and assessment, curriculum, protection, care, guidance and support of students, and leadership and management. Schools are ranked into six categories: outstanding, very good, good, acceptable, weak and very weak.

    A school’s performance against the Framework is linked to whether ADEC grants permission for that school to increase its fees. ADEC recently released figures showing that out of the 90 schools requesting a fee increase for the 2016-2017 academic year, 39 applications were rejected, suggesting a significant percentage of schools were not meeting basic Framework criteria.

    The launch of the new system is no doubt a step in the right direction when it comes to understanding the quality of teaching and learning taking place in the UAE, with identification of issues the first step in building a strong, future-proof education system.

    The real question is what do we do with this information? How can we use the valuable data collected from school inspections to shape positive reforms that will have a positive impact on both teachers and their students?

    The report ADEC released following the first round of inspections noted that of the 19 schools falling into the “weak” or “very weak” category, 14 have failed to improve over the past three inspections. This is troublesome, as it suggests that despite the deficiencies being identified in schools, little progress is being made in redressing these issues.

    The inspections in Abu Dhabi have shown that many of the greatest challenges facing our schools relate to the quantity and quality of available teaching staff. ADEC reported that September to December 2016 saw a turnover rate of teachers of 20% in Abu Dhabi schools. Absenteeism has been cited as a major issue, with the National newspaper also reporting a high number of teachers failing to turn up to class. Anecdotal evidence suggests several reasons for high rates of absenteeism amongst teachers, including unsustainable workloads and a lack of knowledge about new reporting and compliance obligations. Recent media articles have suggested that as well as long work hours, high levels of stress are leading to “scores” of teachers in the UAE resigning.

    Ongoing training and professional development for educators must therefore be at the heart of any solution to the main challenges being experienced within our schools. Those schools that rate highly on the new School Inspection Framework all enjoy strong and effective leadership – but the strong leadership exhibited in these high performing schools is no accident. Effective school leadership requires an ongoing commitment to professional learning and development on behalf of school principals and others within the school leadership team. Senior educators in our schools need to be constantly updated with the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary to deal with the complex challenges impacting modern school environments. Importantly, they must also be well equipped to guide the wider school community through changes to curriculum, assessment and reporting.

    As already mentioned, absenteeism and high turnover of teachers can be, at least in part, explained by teachers feeling overwhelmed by new regulations and ill-equipped to deal with the multitude of other complex challenges facing today’s educators. Professional Development that specifically helps teachers and school leaders to implement reforms that will help improve their school’s performance during inspections is essential – with emphasis on improving learner outcomes all important. Schools need to be supported in their efforts to keep good staff. Increased pay for teachers as an incentive to stay is not always a sustainable option, but increased and improved Professional Development is. And while many school leaders are reluctant to invest in staff training for fear that if teachers leave it will be a waste of money, these leaders need to realise that it is often this investment in teachers that encourages them to stay, and give their best to a school.

    Many weak schools are unaware of how to effectively use data to improve school performance and classroom instruction. Technology is often heralded as a panacea to fixing major education issues. But too often technology is unfortunately viewed by teachers as more of a hindrance than a help – largely due to technology being implemented without the training and support necessary to ensure it is used effectively. The result is teachers feeling burdened rather than empowered by technology – resenting its introduction and failing to exploit its potential as a way of making the teaching, assessment and reporting process more efficient and effective. We need to take steps to ensure data and technology are used optimally, benefitting school performance rather than hindering it. One of the easiest ways of achieving this is making the relevant training more effective and accessible.

    So, in short, there are some important lessons that we can take from the findings of the first round of school inspections conducted under the new Framework. Giving educators and school leaders the tools, confidence and capabilities to address the issues being picked up will help us to build a robust school system. This is essential for ensuring each and every learner in the UAE is being given the best chance of meeting their potential in a schools that comply with the Ministry of Education’s new standards.


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