Dubai, UAE: For years university officials have lamented over the majority of UAE public high school students who are unprepared for the rigour of university level programmes.
To address the problem, Dubai Women’s College has teamed up with K12 Middle East to launch a hybrid high school on the college’s premises.
Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, yesterday attended the opening of DWC High School in Al Qusais.
It is the first high school in the UAE to operate on a college campus although the American University of Sharjah is planning a Dh180 million school, which will be able to accommodate 1,800 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 in 2013/14.
Dr Howard Reed, Director of Dubai Women’s College, said 96 per cent of students graduating from public high schools in the UAE were not ready for university. This creates a dilemma where one-third of higher education budgets are dedicated to preparation courses, which Shaikh Nahyan has called for the eradication of at federal colleges and universities.
“We decided to do something to improve the quality of education in the UAE. For 20 years I’ve been hearing about all the promises that high schools would turn out better graduates but the improvements haven’t happened — we’re still giving our new intakes remedial high school education.”
More high schools could spring up at other colleges, said Reed. “When Shaikh Nahyan originally signed the contract with our partners, K12 Middle East, he said he would like to make this happen in other colleges around the UAE.”
The all-girls school caters for Grade 9 to 12 students with fees at Dh50,000 per annum and this includes a laptop and books. Although the majority of students will be Emirati, young women of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.
Enrolments will begin in January for Grade 9 students only. Most classes will be in English with subjects such as Islamic Studies, Arabic Studies and UAE Social Studies will be in Arabic.
The high school will use a blended learning model where students take some face-to-face classes with online support and learning as well. Jeffrey Herr, DWC High School principal and director for K12 Middle East, said the K12 International Academy curriculum will be offered.