New Moral Education Rolled Out in UAE Schools
Schools across the UAE have started implement the new Moral Education curriculum as of this semester and so far it has been going really well. Moral Education is an initiative of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces that was announced in 2016 and first piloted at 20 schools across the UAE.
This new initiative was partly inspired by classes in schools Japan set to make pupils think how different situations will affect the people around them. Moral Education is in some ways similar to the classes taught in Japan.
"We want a generation of youth that think for themselves. That openly question. That are critical thinkers. That can analyse. We want to build the tools that will allow all children, not just Emirati children but all children growing in the UAE, to be the best prepared for the world when they are adults.” Tariq Al Otaiba, senior associate at the Crown Prince Court’s office of strategic affairs.
Moral Education is based on four pillars: Character and Morality, The Individual and the Community, Civic Studies and Cultural Studies.
The classes will cover 62 units which will focus on certain themes according to the four pillars and highlight values such as fairness, tolerance, equality, appreciation, compassion and empathy.
New Moral Education Rolled Out in UAE Schools - helping elderly woman
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed told the media at a forum: “Our children face major challenges, and it is our responsibility to prepare and protect them. We should not sit back and watch. We should rather race even the light, not only the wind, to ensure that our future generations are well prepared for more achievements and progress. History will judge us on what we did for our children and our people, because the real asset of the nation is its people.”
Currently Moral Education is presented to all grade 1 – 9 students and will be rolled out to all grades as of the next academic year. Student progress to be monitored by schools and authorities but they will however not have to write exams for this subject. Students will however have formative and summative assessments.
Schools must dedicate 60-minutes per week for the subject and can teach it in English, Arabic or another language of instruction. Moral Education may not be taught by religious studies teachers. Tariq Al Otaiba explained: “You can’t teach it through the eye of Islamic studies because it automatically alienates non-Muslim children and we want this to be applied to everyone.”
Here are some facts about Moral Education:
An hour a week must be allocated to the subject
It can be taught in “Arabic, English, another language of instruction or an appropriate combination of these”
Moral Education may not be taught by religious studies teachers
A guidelines handbook has been provided to teachers but the subject is designed to be taught without a textbook. School will however make use of multimedia and online resources that are provided by the Ministry of Education.
Pupils won't be writing exams but will still be assessed for Moral EducationTeachers have been trained to teach Moral Education with at least two staff members from each school who attended the national training.
In-house training was also presented to staff members.
Public schools have a specific instructions which much be followed but private schools may adapt the subject as they deem necessary as long as the learning objectives and criteria is met.