MENAFN - Khaleej Times
UAE- Students urged to pursue excellence
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday paid an inspection visit to two schools in Dubai - the Granada School for Primary Education and the Al Nokhba (Elite) Model School in Al Mazhar area.
The visits come within the framework of Shaikh Mohammed's interest in pursuing excellence in the field of education for students in the UAE.
He was accorded a warm welcome by the students and teaching and administrative staff of the two schools.
Shaikh Mohammed toured the Granada School where he met with the students and congratulated them on the start of the new academic year.
He wished them success and high performance. He also inspected the activities in the classes at the schools.
At Al Nokhba Model School, Shaikh Mohammed was briefed by a computer science teacher on the performance of students.
He also toured the school and inspected the new equipment installed this academic year.
Shaikh Mohammed expressed pleasure at sharing with the students their happiness to come back to schools.
He wished them success in their studies and efforts towards a bright future for them and for the UAE.
Al Qattami visits Fujairah schools
Humaid Al Qattami, Minister of Education, on Sunday visited several schools in Fujairah and Seiji neighbourhood marking the reopening schools.
He joined the students as they sang the national anthem and hoisted the national flag. Al Qattami was briefed on the preparations made by schools for the new academic year and ordered immediate provision of anything they lacked.
Saluting the national flag and singing the national anthem with students is a stress on the ministry's efforts towards reinforcing the national identity and values of loyalty and inculcating them among students said Al Qattami.
He added that his programme of visiting schools will continue throughout the year.
Getting back to class after the summer break
Classes started on Sunday on a high note with a number of government schools having nearly perfect attendance.
Abdulaziz Ahmed, principal of Al Aasima School in Al Shamkha, said 95 per cent of his students turned up on the first day. He expects all the boys to be present the next day.
"We have a very good first day with welcome activities for our Grade 1 students. We have characters and toys and we showed them around our school," he said.
Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi at the Applied Technology High School in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. - Supplied photo
Classes officially started soon after with teachers and students being in classrooms till 1pm, as per the official school timing.
"We have a very good attendance," said another school principal on Abu Dhabi.
A school for girls in Al Shahama also saw hundred per cent attendance. In Baniyas, Umm Abdulla avoided waking up her son to go to school on Sunday. "It's just the first day of school and maybe teachers will not teach yet," she reasoned.
But Abdulla, who will begin Grade 5 this year, woke-up early on his own to get ready for school.
"I am excited to go to school because I miss my friends. We have not seen each other since the school break and I have so much to tell them about my holiday," he said.
At the Institute of Applied Technology (IAT), classes reopened on Sunday with two new campuses in Ajman for girls and boys. All of IAT's now nine campuses have 5,016 enrollees and 100 per cent attendance on Sunday.
"On the first day of school, we have 100 per cent attendance because we notified students early on that we will start our work on the first day. All lessons at IAT are very important and they can't miss any lesson," said Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, general manager of IAT.
IAT, which offers career-based technical education at the secondary and tertiary levels, has a very strict attendance policy.
For this academic year, 5,200 students applied at IAT but only 1,850 candidates were chosen for Applied Technology High School, a 38 per cent increase from students last year. All new students underwent a two-week workshop in English, Math and Science prior to the opening of classes to prepare them for their course works. IAT also hired an additional 150 teachers this year, to complete its 600 teachers.
Across the emirate, in the Western Region, Asian International Private School in Madinat Zayed, resumed classes last week after a two-month summer break.
According to principal Molly D'Coutho, attendance was 93 per cent on the first day.
"Now we have 99 per cent. Parents who went on vacation wrote to us saying that they could not come back last week due to the high airfare. Now we're on regular stream," she said.
For students who went on holiday, the principal had tasked them to "get closer with their grandparents, uncles and aunties" and write anecdotes about them. The aim was to get the students build better relations with relatives back home, said D'Coutho. The stories were read by the students during the school assembly.
In keeping with students' safety on the back-to-school day, the Abu Dhabi Police in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) launched a new campaign aimed at enhancing the level of traffic safety for students this new academic year.
The 'Students' safety is everyone's responsibility' drive on Sunday at Khalifa City A featured awareness programmes and an exhibition on traffic safety. The campaign targets schools, parents, education authorities, school administrations, school bus drivers and other participants.
"The safety of our students is not only the responsibility of one entity, but a collaborative process in which the society becomes an extended family for the students. Let us embrace our duty to protect these students from traffic accidents and create a culture of safety awareness," said Brigadier Hussein Ahmed Al Harthi, director of the Traffic and Patrols Directorate at the Abu Dhabi Police.
"This requires drivers to be extra alert to the presence of students on the roads, particularly in the hours when students are coming to school in the morning, or leaving school in the afternoon," he added.
For the campaign, the police have drafted a comprehensive plan that includes intensified patrols at areas of traffic congestion around schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region.
"We urge all parents to avoid making abrupt stops in undesignated areas when collecting their children outside schools, as this leads to traffic congestion and accidents. Traffic awareness messages will also be delivered to parents through their children," Al Harthi said.
These include educational videos that focus on basic safety rules, the importance of seat belts and child seats, and the golden rule for use of the school bus.
Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, executive director of School Operations at Adec, has urged all schools to abide by the safety standards of school buses and ensure that all mechanical aspects of the buses are satisfactory, in order to provide safe transportation for students. He also encouraged all school bus drivers to abide by traffic safety rules, such as, avoiding overloading and only letting students disembark at designated areas.
The campaign will continue throughout the year as part of the 'Together' initiative (www.uae-together.com). Safety messages have been spread though social networks Facebook (UAETogether), Twitter and YouTube.
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