Tag Archives: Education

2 primary schools, Singtel get President’s Award for Environment for their green efforts

Old habits die hard when it comes to adopting environmentally friendly practices, so some schools are making sure they plant the seeds of green living in the younger generation.

One school that has been nurturing their students to think in eco-friendly ways is Mee Toh School.


Jordan teachers launch strike, demand pay raise

Teachers in Jordan are launching an open-ended strike after negotiations with the government failed to yield a raise.

A Jordanian teacher’s union announced the strike Sunday, saying the government hasn’t implemented a 50 percent salary increase agreed upon in 2014.

Jordan is a staunch military and political ally of the West in a turbulent region. In June 2018, a proposed tax hike triggered strikes and the largest anti-government protests in recent years, eventually leading King Abdullah II to replace his prime minister.

On Thursday, thousands of Jordanian teachers protested in the capital, Amman, demanding higher wages. Some scuffled with security forces during the demonstration.

The Education Ministry says it is committed to dialogue with teachers but said pay raises must be tied to better performance.


Brazil In Mourning’, Rallies in Defense of Public Education

“Step out Bolsonaro!” thousands shout as they march to defend public education and the Amazon.

On September 7th, the Independence Day of Brazil, the National Student Union (UNE) led protests in defense of the Amazon and public education, both of which are being threatened by policies in favor of private companies promoted by President Jair Bolsonaro.

“Education-related budget cuts end our dreams,” the UNE policy director Julia Aguiar said and explained that the today’s mobilizations seek to make visible growing social inequalities.

“In Brazil, we have to leave our homes and travel to other cities in order to study. In this context, public scholarships are essential to ensure attendance.”

“The Scream of the Excluded” is the slogan sheltering protests which take place on dozen of Brazilian cities. The massive discontent with austerity policies, however, is not new.

“Over the last months we have witnessed mobilizations in defense of education and against a government which attacks the rights of the people as a whole,” Aguiar said and recalled that the Education Ministry announced further cuts this week, which means that “the 2020 budget will have half the money than the current one.”​​​​​​​

In a country that is still astonished at the Intercept leaks, which provided insight into how judges and officials plotted to send Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to prison, street protests were inevitably accompanied by chants reminiscent of the Workers’ Party government.

“Bolsonaro wants to know and Brazil tells him: the Workers’ Party… will be back!, education… will be back!, social security… will be back!, jobs… will be back!, democracy… will be back!​​​​​​”

Painted faces are back! People rally today for education and the Amazon in Joao. Tomorrow it will be across Brazil. Our message will be broadcast from the streets. Dressed in black and with our faces painted in green and yellow, we move towards the independence of Brazil!

The September 7th protests are also focused on the defense of Amazonian rainforests and indigenous peoples, which have been targeted by businessmen who traffic with land and natural resources.

“Rich people say they defend the Brazilian flag a lot; however, they just want to sell the national wealth,” said Nicolas Nacimento, a 20-year-old student who is participating in a street protest in Brasilia for the first time.

“The Amazon is not Trump’s garbage. Step out Bolsonaro,” was the message written on a banner displayed on the Brazilian capital.

“I am not deceived, Bolsonaro is a militiaman,” the citizens were singing in chorus as the police crossed Brasilia’s streets mounted on their horses and escorted by armed cars.

“Strength Brazil, courage! The bad will ​​​​​​​end,” Portuguese writer Valter Hugo Mae told Brazil de Fato as a way of sending a solidarity message at today’s struggle in defense of the Amazon.

“When minorities come together, they become a majority!,” he recalled.​​​​​​​


Sheikh Mohammed visits pupils who survived school bus fire

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid visited three boys who survived a school bus fire in Sharjah, on Wednesday.

The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai visited the Emirati pupils at Al Qudwa School. In a video, circulated on social media, Sheikh Mohammed was seen walking the halls of the school in Kalba with Khalifa Al Kaabi.

Khalifa, 12, was one of the three children on board the bus when it erupted in flames at 6.30am on Tuesday. We was called a hero for helping to evacuate the bus of its two other passengers – his friends Mohammed, 13, and Mayed, 13 – and the driver.

Sharjah Police said the fire was quickly extinguished and that there had been no casualties.

The Ministry of Education said officials were investigating the cause of the incident “to ensure the safety and security of all the pupils” and the boys were put on another bus to take them to school.


Students, teachers return to schools with great vigour

Schools in the UAE sprang back to life for the first day of the new academic year on Sunday. Institutions running under British, American and the Ministry of Education curriculums started a new academic year, while Indian and Pakistani schools resumed the second semester of the academic year.

Once again, the highlight of the first day of the school reopening remained traffic jams in Sharjah and Dubai. Residents of Sharjah experienced unprecedented traffic chaos. Children studying in Dubai schools and their parents were hit the most. However, the police officials were making all efforts to remove any hurdle that could lead to students’ delay in reaching schools.

It promises to be an exciting year ahead as GEMS Education, which runs the biggest network of schools in the UAE, introduces a host of innovative programmes and teaching methods that will expand the opportunities available to the 125,000 students enrolled across its 48 UAE schools, of which 18,000 are newly enrolled. In addition, some 1,800 new teachers have joined the network, each carefully picked for their individual expertise and talents, and collectively adding immeasurable value to not only GEMS Education schools, but also the country’s education sector as a whole.

Sir Christopher Stone, Chief Education Officer of GEMS Education, said, “Back-to-school marks the beginning of an important chapter in the lives of children. We are really looking forward to welcoming all of our students and staff for an exciting year ahead. Being at a school that is part of GEMS Education, which has a 60-year legacy in the UAE, means that students and staff are members of an extended family, and we want to do everything we can to help each and every one of them reach their full potential.”

Fatima Martin, Principal of New Millennium School, Dubai, said, “The new term heralds new energies and new ideas, setting the pace for high achievement throughout our school community. We are delighted to welcome back our students, who will see this vision through to reality. Our students have been actively engaged in many activities over the summer, including the Singularity University Global Summit in San Francisco, the #8WeekStreak from KHDA, as well as highlighting their summer travels and internships on social media using #NMSHolidays. We can’t wait to hear the buzz, the chatter and the laughter that our students bring to our school.”

In the new academic year, New Millennium School is set to host its very first TEDx, the senior school will present its theatre production ‘Selfie’, and the school will host numerous events, including a Primary Swim Gala and World Cultures Week.

Neil Matthews, Principal of Wellington Academy – Al Khail, Dubai, said, “As the new school year begins, I am very excited about welcoming our new and returning students and their families. Every member of the team is really looking forward to the year ahead and to the many achievements of our students. I am immensely proud of our school community and the countless experiences and opportunities our students embrace with enthusiasm and excitement. Over the summer break, we saw a second year of exceptional GCSE results, undertook several exciting projects to enhance our learning environments, received some wonderful feedback from our parents, and saw the highest number of teachers return to Wellington Academy in its history. We are all so excited about the year ahead.”

Over the course of the coming year, Wellington Academy is set to continue to enrich its curriculum with a focus on student wellbeing, leadership and community service, added Matthews.

For the past few days, children flocked to the markets with their parents to purchase shoes, socks, schoolbags, lunch-boxes and other accessories for their children. Children studying in Indian and Pakistani schools were as enthusiastic as their counterparts in British and American curriculum schools, despite the fact that they were going to join only the second semester of the academic year.


Announcement of preparatory certificate exam results delayed

The Ministry of Education attributed the reasons behind delaying the announcement of the Preparatory Certificate exams’ results to mistakes made in the exam questions, besides the inclusion of questions from out the school curriculum, caused by what it called “the irresponsible conduct of some educational supervisors”.

Another reason for the delay was the presence of hundreds of displaced students that lacked school records and files, in addition to schools which were forced to close their doors, after the aggression on Tripoli.

The ministry underscored that the examination centre is working with all its human, technical and material resources and around the clock, to announce the results as soon as possible.


Africa: Reversing the Growing Unemployment among African Universities Trained Graduates

Recently, I watched the heartbreaking story of a 24-year-old Kevin Ochieng, a first class honors degree graduate, whose excellent academic performance did not secure him a decent job. He articulated well how he worked hard, excelled in exams, and was looking forward to put his training and expertise into practice. Instead, he is still unemployed and living on the streets of Nairobi.

I asked myself: How many young African graduates like Kevin are out there?

A recent feature by the Nation titled “The reality of Kenyan youth: Young, educated, ambitious and jobless” clearly articulates the situation. In South Africa, according to the recently released quarterly Labour Force survey, 2nd Quarter 2019, 35.6 % of those aged 25-34 are unemployed. Just recently, South Africa reported how many graduates are struggling to find meaningful work. This trend is common in other countries including NigeriaKenyaGhana and Mali. What happens over and over is that youth are trained and then many of them have no place to practice that what they have learned and some end up being jobless. Seeing no hope for employment in the near future, those who can may decide to migrate.

There are several reasons that explain this troubling trend. These include a weak African economy, lack of a vibrant private sector, manufacturing jobs and financial support for African youth to become entrepreneurial, and a mismatch between available jobs and the training African youth. There is also a lack of sound employment and job policies. At the core of all these issues is poor governance.

The situation is even more upsetting when one considers how Africa’s educated youth are well equipped with the expertise needed to transform and develop the African continent, yet, their skills and expertise remains untapped. Instead, African countries continue to tap into foreign expertise or unknowledgeable experts, many of who are political appointees.

Clearly, African countries must commit to reversing this trend. We must shift these statistics. We must create jobs and put into use the skills its youth have. It is time to welcome them to the governments, to departments of agriculture, and any other place of influence.

So how do we facilitate the rapid absorption of the youth and the ideas they bring along?

First, African country governments should implement sound job and employment policies.  These can range from policies that provide an enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs that enable the youth to build skills that are in demand. Governments can also see that they leverage already existing employers including NGO’s to support and employ youth or support young entrepreneurs through initiatives by which governments procure goods and services from youth-owned businesses.

In addition, countries can also implement affirmative policies to ensure all government ministries or departments including the Ministry of Agriculture have certain positions that are exclusively set aside for recently trained graduates.  Some countries like Uganda and Kenya are working to change policies as a way to tackle youth employment.

Even with policies, it is unlikely that all graduates, and the many unemployed youth will be absorbed in the formal sector.

For those that do not end up having office jobs, they can consider being entrepreneurial. According to recent data by the African Development Bank, 22% of Africa’s working age have established new businesses. What’s more is that coming along with a rising middle class in Africa is an increase in the number of consumers and consumer spending, creating more opportunities for youth-led businesses to thrive and grow. As they grow, they can in turn offer employment to other youths.

Evidently, it is clear that the entrepreneurial landscape in Africa is excellent. According to 2018/2019 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, Africa and Middle East region has by far the highest number of people involved in early state entrepreneurial activity. And because the entrepreneurship ground is fertile, African youth, especially recent graduates, should continue to innovate, think out of the box and create for themselves businesses and the opportunities to put their skills and brilliant minds to work.

Importantly, to continue building a prosperous Africa, where trained young people are absorbed in careers, Universities must restructure their training programs and train not just for the sake of it, but also to fill in the market demand. This also demands creation of vocation schools and institutes where youths can train for specific jobs including digital jobs. Just recently, Google Africa announced that it will give over 30,000 young African developers scholarships and grants to help them become certified on Google’s Android, web and cloud technologies. African youth should latch on such opportunities. It is a win for both.

Ultimately, cutting down on youth unemployment in Africa while ensuring that we tap onto the skills and passion African youthful graduates bring along, will require rolling out of sound employment policies. It will mean continuing to tap onto entrepreneurship while continuously adapting the education system to ensure that graduates have the skills to match the market demand. It is possible.


UAE pupils to start school after Islamic New Year holiday

Pupils will go back to school on Monday, September 2, after the announcement of a public holiday for the Islamic New Year.

The Ministry of Education had initially said the academic year would to begin on Sunday, September 1.

This week, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said public and private sector workers will enjoy a public holiday on Muharram 1, Hijri 1441.

That date in the Islamic calendar falls on Saturday or Sunday, leading many to anticipate a holiday on Sunday, September 1.

Schools emailed parents on Thursday to notify them of the change in the start date and advise factoring extra time into their morning commute to compensate for increased traffic.


Expo-Sciences International 2019 comes to Abu Dhabi next month

Hundreds of young people representing 58 countries will participate in the Expo-Sciences International 2019 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre next month.

This year’s competition is expected to have 1,500 participants between the ages of nine to 25. Children will present 700 science projects in 13 categories, including biology, behavioural and social sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth science, energy and transport, engineering, environmental analyses and environmental management, electric and mechanical technology, mathematical science, medicine and health, physics and astronomy, technology and biotechnology.

It is the first time the event, which runs from September 24 to 26, has come to the capital since 2013.

“We are delighted to provide a platform for young minds from all over the world, including the UAE, to collaborate and share ideas here in Abu Dhabi,” said Mubarak Al Shamsi, the director general of Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, in a statement.

“We are committed to the country’s vision to advance scientific innovation and education across key sectors and nurture the talent of young people to affect positive change and present solutions to modern-day challenges.”

ESI is a created by the International Movement for Leisure Activities in Science and Technology, a non-governmental, non-profit youth organisation dedicated to fostering scientific learning among youth.

The event is free. Schools can register to visit through the website until September 19.


Parents shut dilapidated Tulbagh school

Broken windows, no running water or working toilets, and asbestos contamination through dilapidated ceiling boards: these are just some of the infrastructure faults pointed out by parents at Waveren High in Tulbagh, Western Cape.

A portion of the school is made up of “plankie” building materials which deteriorate over time and are easily damaged by adverse weather.

On Tuesday morning, parents, learners and staff at Waveren picketed outside the school gates, demanding that the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) renovate the school. It was the second time parents demonstrated after teaching at the school was brought to a halt on Monday.

The pickets followed a meeting between parents and the school governing body on Sunday afternoon, where they were informed that plans to fix the school’s infrastructure would again be delayed. Representatives from the WCED were expected to meet with parents on Monday evening, but this never happened.

“Waveren is one of the oldest schools in the area which means it still has asbestos in the roofs. The plug points and other electrical work are old and no longer working. There is no water or good working toilets for learners to use. It’s just not a healthy environment for our children or the teachers,” said Gavin Buttress, chairperson of the school governing body.

He said the school alerted the department to severe damage to the school building caused by a storm in June. Buttress said parents grew tired of waiting for the WCED to deliver on its promises to fix the school.

Bronagh Hammond, spokesperson for the WCED, said the department was informed that the roof and ceilings in three classrooms and the admin area needed repairs. “Public Works has assessed the buildings. Repair work and other maintenance needs are due to start in October,” she said.

Hammon confirmed that the ‘plankie’ portion of the school is due to be partly replaced next year with new classrooms and a new school hall. The estimated date of completion is 2022, Hammond said.

But Buttress said interim repairs were needed to ensure that learning at the school continues in a safe environment for learners and staff. “In the meantime, our children will still sit in these dire conditions … What will happen if one of the ceilings collapse and injure or is killed? We will continue protests until we get proper answers from the department,” he said.