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ICT in Abu Dhabi

I am lucky enough to be situated in a school in the Abu Dhabi emirate (in a town called Al Ain) for 12 weeks. Although I work as a Math advisor, I talk to a number of ex-patriot Information and Communications Technology (ICT) advisors and am slowly finding out the state of play here. All students through their senior years at high school (Grades 10,11 and 12) have either one or two periods a week of ICT. (All public schools have a compulsory curriculum and there are no option choices.)

The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC is the central body which controls the curriculum of this Emirate) has a new curriculum and the ICT Grade 10 to 12 curriculum covers six strands in total: Core Operations and Concepts, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communications and Collaboration, Creativity and Innovation, Software Development and Programming, and Robotics and Automated Systems.

The content is ambitious and sensibly, will need more than an hour a week to achieve the desired outcomes. The curriculum and assessment regime has recently come under ADEC control, rather than the central ministry for all of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). All levels are required to undertake Continuous Assessment and do two assessments per trimester, one of which should be integrated with another subject.

It is still in transition phase, and at present grade 12 ICT marks do not count for the equivalent of University Entrance. Grade 12 students do the robotics strand and the programming strand, so it is hoped it will become the case that it "counts".

Although often teachers are well qualified, they have not all had professional development (PD) opportunities for the new curriculum. This is partly a constraint of individual school policies, partly the fact that ICT is a small faculty within a high school and thus competent relievers are scarce, and in the UAE with strict gender prohibitions, PD may be run separately for each gender. And sometimes wives may find it difficult to get permission to travel out of town for PD.

The challenges are enormous, but it is heartening to see a well formed curriculum as the beginning point for the new education model.

Margot Phillipps
CSTA International Director


do the schools have ICT curriculum for primary level? what are the main features in it?

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