Major plans to boost Abu Dhabi’s community schools initiative


Education chiefs sign deal with six government bodies to bring number of community schools up to at least 30 by 2020.

[Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Adek advisor and Nasir Khamis, head of the community schools project, speaking at the launch of a new partnership with six government bodies to extend the initiative. Victor Besa/ The National]
The transformation of public schools into community centres is to be extended across Abu Dhabi.

At least 30 community schools – which provide facilities for the public in their catchment areas – are planned by 2020.

Pupils will benefit from more activities and classes, while more efficient use will be made of the schools.

A new agreement between the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge and six government bodies includes a link-up with organisers of the Special Olympics, which will be held in the capital next year.

Pupils will be taught about the challenges disabled people face, while athletes competing in the Special Olympics will visit schools.

“It is with great pleasure that we witness such a pivotal agreement,” Ali Al Nuaimi, chairman of Adek, said. “These schools will help build healthier community ties.”

The project began in Abu Dhabi in 2015 with one school. Adek would not disclose a budget for the programme on Sunday, but there are now 20 schools involved and this number is expected to rise to at least 30 by 2020 and more thereafter.

There are more than 200 public schools in the emirate.

“We build the schools to serve the community,” said Nasir Khamis, Adek’s community school manager. “They are increasing year by year.”

Community schools offer swimming, IT, aerobics, science workshops, gymnastics, poetry, theatrical performances and health awareness.

Residents in the catchment areas can use some of the facilities, subject to certain rules.

Adek signed the agreement with Abu Dhabi Police, Department of Culture and Tourism, Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, Department of Community Development, Department of Health and the Special Olympics committee.

Mohammed Al Junaibi, chairman of the higher committee of Special Olympics World Games, said the agreement represented a huge step in creating a caring society.

“An inclusive society allows people of determination to reach their goals and to develop and thrive as individuals, boosting their self-confidence as well as their health, social and sporting abilities,” he said.

Each government body will make a contribution. The Department of Culture and Tourism, for example, will provide reading corners and library services. Competitions, art workshops and other initiatives will also be provided.

“Education was always part of what we do in culture, so now we are trying to bring that into schools,” said the DCT’s Faisal Al Dhahri. “It’s about encouraging reading and encouraging learning.”

Community schools in Abu Dhabi include the Humooda bin Ali School, Saad bin Moath School, Al Salam School, the Al Rowad School,and the Al Siddique School in Al Dhafra.

Source: The National