The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) signed a three-year protocol agreement with the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), referred to as the International Baccalaureate (IB) today, in efforts to widen the options offered for parents and to meet the different needs of students.
Founded in 1968, the IB is a not-for profit foundation, which offers high quality and challenging education programmes for a worldwide community of schools. For 45 years, the IB programmes have gained a reputation for rigour and high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century, and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Currently, more than one million IB students attend nearly 3,700 schools in 145 countries.
During the signing ceremony, H.E. Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, Director General at the ADEC, said: “The IB works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students to become active thinkers, compassionate and lifelong learners, with high respect for other cultures and traditions. We are proud to partner with IBO in this important milestone and are certain that this agreement will benefit hundreds if not thousands of students across the Emirate.”
There are currently ten schools in Abu Dhabi authorized by ADEC as IB World School with seven out ten delivering the IB Diploma Programme (Grades 11 and 12), two out of ten delivering the Middle Years Programme (Grades 6 to 10) and six out of ten offer the Primary Years Programme (Grades 1 to 5). In the UAE there are more than 30 schools authorized to offer one or more of the IB programmes.
Dr. Siva Kumari, Director General, International Baccalaureate Organisation said: “Schools that take on IB's rigorous academic standards find themselves working harder than usual to adhere to both IB's standards and their local educational requirements. I am delighted that the Abu Dhabi Education Council is working collaboratively with us to offer students the best international education. We applaud their efforts. The agreement will ensure that the quality and philosophy of the IB programmes are given full attention while ensuring that schools are fully able to conform to ADEC's curricular requirements”.
In the protocol agreement, both parties agreed that schools implementing the IB programme must implement components of the UAE curricula, such as Arabic Language, Islamic Education and UAE Civics and Social Studies, in addition to the IB programmes requirements’.
“While ADEC highly respects and acknowledges the IB programme, we found it vital and necessary to stress on the fact that certain subjects must be mandated as respect to the UAE culture, heritage and religion. One of ADEC’s top priorities is to help strengthen its National Identity as well as equip students with strong Arabic and Islamic Study skills,” said Dr. Al Khaili.
According to the IB rules and regulations, the Middle Years Programme and Primary Years Programme are supported in English, French and Spanish, but can be taught in any other language provided specific IB language requirements for schools are followed.
IB World Schools and schools seeking IB authorization in Abu Dhabi Emirate must comply with IB and ADEC rules, regulations and requirements. In addition to this, schools applying for authorization in any of the IB programmes will comply with the following: After receiving the formal IB authorization letter, the school must send a copy of the letter to ADEC to reflect on the school license; ADEC approval shall be one of the steps IB shall fulfill prior to considering a certain school for candidacy or authorization. IB will communicate to ADEC all new authorizations granted to schools for all IB programmes.
“The aim of the agreement is to allow new schools with zero years of experience to be licensed by ADEC as IB schools with IB appointing support staff for them to go through the process from being candidates to full authorization,” explained Engineer Hamad Al Dhaheri, Executive Director at ADEC’s PSQA sector.
According to the bipartite agreement, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme examinations provide clear objectives and aim to assess higher order skills as well as simple recall of facts. Teachers prepare students for the examination by following a carefully designed curriculum and methodology for which training is required.
“In order for a student to finish their IB successfully, Grade 11 and 12 students are required to finish the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and write a 4,000 word extended essay over the course of two years. Since the programme is offered to students as young as 3 and as old as 19, however ADEC admission age into school starts from four years old, many students who finish the diploma end up skipping their freshman year and enter the sophomore stage in some universities, that is how highly recognized the programmes’ academic standards are, similar to other reputable programmes as the A-level and Advanced Placement,” concluded Engineer Al Dhaheri.