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Indian schools prepare NRI students to take on global challenges.

Summary: With more than 150 Indian schools, affiliated to various statutory boards in India, operating across the UAE, tens of thousands of NRI stude...

Nithin Belle

KHDA recently launched a guide for all private schools in Dubai, who will have to ensure the formation of an inclusion team to support the principal in achieving a vision of inclusive education in practice.

With more than 150 Indian schools, affiliated to various statutory boards in India, operating across the UAE, tens of thousands of NRI students are able to pursue higher education that prepares them to take up further studies at top colleges and universities in their home country as well as in the UAE and elsewhere in the world. The first Indian school - the Indian High School (IHS) - was established in the UAE nearly 60 years ago, when Maghanmal Pancholia, now in his mid-90s, started it in Dubai in 1961. Pancholia came to Dubai nearly 80 years ago, way back in 1942 and about two decades later started the school, which began operations in a small way as a makeshift institution operating out of villas. This correspondent, who has interacted with Pancholia several times in the past, recalls his passion for education and the need to get students enrolled in institutions. Leading educational institution Today, IHS is one of the leading institutions in the UAE and continues to provide education to thousands of students. In Abu Dhabi, the first private educational institution came up in 1967, when St Joseph's School was set up in the Corniche to provide "quality, affordable and value-based education." Interestingly, Pope Francis paid a private visit to the St Joseph's Cathedral on February 5 during his official visit to the UAE. More than two decades after it was established, the school, which shifted from a small shed to its present campus, switched over to India's Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) programme. Compared to other CBSE schools, St Joseph's, with about 1,500 students, is relatively smaller, but there is a huge waiting list of students seeking admission. According to the Consulate General of India in Dubai, there are more than 80 schools following the Indian curriculum in the Northern Emirates of the UAE. Of these, 34 are in Dubai, 23 in Sharjah, 11 in Ajman, six each in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah and two in Umm Al Quwain. While 72 of these schools follow the CBSE curriculum, four follow the ICSE ones offered by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), and seven being the Kerala State Board curriculum. And three of the seven schools offering the Kerala curriculum also offer the CBSE one. The CBSE is one of the most popular programmes for NRI students in the UAE. Last year, for instance, nearly 14,000 students from Dubai and the Northern Emirates sat for the CBSE class 10 and 12 exams, conducted by the board in India. There are about 15 CBSE exam centres across the UAE. Popular Indian education programmes The CBSE and the CISCE are among the most popular Indian education programmes both within the country and abroad. The CBSE curriculum has been designed and developed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi. It is an autonomous organisation set up in 1961 by the Indian government to assist and advise the central and state governments on policies and programmes relating to the qualitative improvement in school education. The NCERT acts as a nodal agency for achieving the goals of universalisation of elementary education and is also an implementation agency for bilateral cultural exchange programmes with other countries in the field of school education. The CBSE prepares students for the All India CBSE Secondary Schools Examination at age 16 (end of grade 10) and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination at age 18 (end of grade 12). Many of the students who graduate out of 12th standard can also apply for the 40 odd universities that are listed with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority Dubai (KHDA) and the 76 institutes and universities that are accredited with the Commission of Academic Accreditation (CAA), Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi. Three leading Indian universities including BITS Pilani, Amity University and Manipal University have offshore campuses - approved by India's University Grants Commission (UGC) - in Dubai, while the Institute of Management Technology (IMT) is accredited by the CAA. Inclusive education KHDA, in a bid to further enhance inclusive education, recently launched a guide for all private schools in Dubai, who will have to ensure the formation of an inclusion team to support the principal in achieving a vision of inclusive education in practice. The new moves are part of Dubai's bid to become an all-inclusive city by 2020 and part of a new guide aimed at creating a system-wide change, helping build an inclusive system of education. Consequently, schools are encouraged to move away from the medical model of assessing any special needs instead of being asked to create life-defining experiences for students of determination and their families. "We are aware of the challenges and opportunities in our journey towards building a fully-inclusive education system," said Fatma Belrehif, CEO of Dubai School Inspection Bureau at KHDA. "The launch of this new guide for schools is a reflection of our commitment to scale-up efforts and enable schools to create a welcoming environment for everyone. This will only be possible when the entire school community values diversity and believes in creating engaging, relevant and meaningful experiences for students of determination." The guide covers new procedures for admission, assessment, identification, intervention, systematic support and resources for schools. Overcoming barriers "Our conversations with schools are now centred on how we can make progress in overcoming barriers to educational access, participation and engagement," said Belrehif. "We want to enable schools to have a better understanding and more effective implementation of the standards set out in Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework." Indeed, providing a first-rate education system is the pillar of the National Agenda in line with Vision 2021. And one of the targets of the National Agenda is that UAE students must be best in the world in reading, Mathematics, Science and also have a strong knowledge of the Arabic language. As Indian schools in the UAE gear up to take on the new challenges, they are equally keen on ensuring that the thousands of students who study here are fully prepared to face the competition, in India, the UAE, or elsewhere around the globe. -

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 26, 2019
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