Dubai, UAE: Kids as young as eight years are running successful businesses and making huge profits at a school in Dubai. The students of Next Generation School (NGS) in Barsha use a play currency invented by the school to teach their students about entrepreneurship, leadership and real-life experiences.
The school has a unique life skills programme and classroom economy system, where students have jobs and receive salaries in ‘NGS’ currencies.
“We try to mimic real life experiences through the programme,” the life-skills coordinator at NGS Pranti Zaveri, told Khaleej Times. “The main message is giving, saving and spending. We really want children to stress on charity, to give back to the community and how to budget and manage their finances. You have to connect what you are learning in class with real life.”
Real-seeming job adverts are placed inside classrooms and in hallways, which can be applied by students. Jobs such as bankers, custodians, teacher’s assistant, messenger, energy saver, line leader and recycler are available to the kids. After a student gets selected for the job, he or she is required to sign a job contract.
One student in Grade 4, Anayah Tahir, is employed as a messenger and receives a monthly salary of 475 NGS. However, she is making extra money on the side with her handmade jewellery business. “The rents can be a bit expensive, so we have to make some extra money. This year, I’m selling Pandora-style bracelets,” said Tahir.
Business owners can operate their shops during the lunch break and customers can buy items only with NGS currencies. There are a total of 150 student-run businesses at the school, ranging from baked goods, lemonade stands and jewellery.
Also, there are opportunities for students at the school to turn NGS money into real dirhams.
A Grade 2 student, Saif Khaled Ramadan, saved up more than 1,000 NGS last year. Known as “possibly the richest kid in school”, Ramadan threw a party for his peers at school, where he charged them entrance fees in dirhams. “I did make extra money, but I also did charity. I gave away half of my savings to charity,” said Ramadan, who was left with less than 400 NGS after contributing half of his wealth to charity.
Last year, while the school year was ending, the charity boxes placed around the schools totalled to 36,000 NGS – all which were donated by the students. The school converted it into dirhams, equaling Dh5,000, and donated to the Dar Al Ber Society.
Football players at the school have a whopping salary of anywhere between 200 NGS to 1,200 NGS, depending on the grade of the player. The high salaries for football players have been implemented to teach the children what a “real-life football career” would consist of.
“These boys are going to be on a decent salary,” the football coach at NGS and the director of Aces Middle East Football Academy, Umran Khan, said. “Some of these kids are very keen on playing football. What I’m also hoping is that this will help students behave. Because they love playing football and they get paid to do it, they will behave.”
All football players are required to sign a contract before joining the team, which states that they must have good conduct, 100 per cent attendance in training sessions and a 90 per cent classroom attendance during training and classroom matches.
Mohammed Abas, an eight-year-old third grader, wants to play football professionally when he grows up. “It’s my favourite sport and I like playing it in school,” Abas said, who earns a total of 600 NGS per month with his classroom job and by being on the football team.
Another eight-year-old in Grade 3, Abdullah Hani, is earning a similar amount as Abas. “We will get paid more because we are football players. But I like playing because it’s fun and it’s my favourite thing to do,” Hani said
Even though seven-year-old Saif Khaled Ramadan gave away half of his wealth to charity, his passion for sports will help him earn a lot more money this year.
Th school in Barsha has a unique life skills programme for its students to teach their students about entrepreneurship. The school has invented a play currency system to train the leadership qualities of students through real-life situations. The students are required to pay monthly or yearly “desk rent” in order to sit inside the classrooms.
The salaries and rent depend on the grade of the students. Grade 1 students receive a salary of 40 NGS with a monthly rent of 10 NGS. Grade 2 students earn 60 to 80 NGS per month and have to pay a rent of 70 per month. The pattern follows all the way up to Grade 6, where students have a high salary of 800 to 1000 NGS per month. However, rent prices also go up with each grade level, as they pay a desk rent of 700 NGS per month.
© Khaleej TimesOct 2017