In line with its vision to provide students with high quality educational opportunities and to enhance student performance on a par with best international standards, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) will introduce a school reform model for all Cycle 3 public schools, starting with Grades 10 and 11, from August 2015.
Starting August 2015-2016, Grade 11 students will study a unified stream with a common core curriculum and the reformed approach will be applied to Grade 12 students by the 2016-2017 academic school years, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) announced yesterday.
In line with the announcement, ADEC is applying an innovative model which focuses on establishing links between learning outcomes, labour market needs and 21st century teaching and learning skills.
Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, ADEC's Director General, explained that establishing and maintaining a knowledge-based economy requires the education system to prepare its students to become highly experienced and skilled for tomorrow's workforce, thus contributing in the nation's socio-economic development.
"Education should provide students with the opportunity to explore their potentials and talents, while equipping them with a strong education system that will result in students enrolling in some of the most prestigious higher education institutions, locally, regionally and internationally, and study programs and disciplines that are of paramount importance to the UAE," said Dr. Al Qubaisi.
ADEC's keenness to develop curriculum and improve learning outcomes reflects the utmost importance given to education by the UAE's wise and prudent leadership, added ADEC's Director-General.
Accordingly, the Cycle 3 reform model was introduced, since it reflects tangible outcomes of the P-12 education journey, while encouraging a smooth transition for students to higher education institutes and eventually to a competitive labour market.
Dr. Najwa Al Hosani, ADEC's Curriculum Division Manager, said that the reformed Cycle 3 school model aims to provide students with a wide range of subjects, with focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, which provide fundamental skills and experience necessary to open doors for the future.
She further indicated that the reformed Cycle 3 curriculum focuses on establishing links between applied science and practical life, while providing value to science and technology, without prejudice to the importance of humanities, languages and social sciences, noting that the link between the two streams can be seen in the development of subjects such as Global Information System (GIS), which replaces traditional Geography.
The Cycle 3 school model is designed to link science to entrepreneurship, learning skills and to the nation's technological industry.
STEM will account for 50 percent of the curriculum and STEM subjects will be aligned with professional requirements in order to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation that lead to the establishment of new ICT enterprises and projects.
"The reformed curriculum provides the opportunity to identify talented students and support them. It also helps develop opportunities appropriate to the capabilities and needs of individual students and prepare learners to meet the needs of the labour market. The wide variety of electives will encourage students to select subjects matched with their interests, ambitions and aspirations, while linking them to future careers such as programming and advanced ICT sciences," said Dr. Al Hosani.
In addition to improving communication and ICT skills among students, the reformed Cycle 3 school model will support students to pass international assessments, offer academic and career guidance as well as encourage learning through extra-curricular activities.
Additionally, the curriculum focuses on promoting national identity, culture, heritage, Arabic language and bi-lingual skills, while encouraging public speaking skills among students.
Dr. Alaaeldin A. Aly, Knowledge Management Division Manager - Office of Planning and Strategic Affairs, said that under the reformed model, Grade 11 students will study a unified stream. They will be allowed to study a common core curriculum with basic subjects in line with the curriculum that consists of four divisions i.e. STEM, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (which includes Math, Science, Engineering, designing, Programming, ICT, Innovation, Creativity); Humanities (which includes Islamic Education and Integrated Social Studies); Communication and Languages (which includes Arabic, English, Verbal Communication and Artistic Writing); Student Learning Support Skills and Activities (Physical and Health Education, Leadership Skills, Jiu Jitsu, Academic and career Guidance).
In addition, Grade 11 students will study a number of electives that will help develop their abilities and support their future academic and career paths.
"Cycle 3 curriculum will continue to be taught in Arabic during the next academic school year until the Abu Dhabi bilingual school model is fully implemented," said Dr. Aly.
The reformed curriculum will develop student knowledge and improve their creative and critical thinking skills, in addition to Mathematics and literary skills.
The Cycle 3 reformation plays an integral part in the development of learning outcomes. The project responds to the proposals and strategies developed by educators in line with ‘Shaping the Future Forum' that was organised by ADEC earlier, and involved all educators across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.