Scholarship winners’ get an exciting school start


The Mohammed Bin Rashid Distinguished Students Programme aims to empower young Emiratis

[Jumma Al Balooshi and his two sisters who got the scholarship]

Busy roads, school buses, uniforms – it all signals ‘back to school’ time.

While some kids may be dreading waking up early again for school, others are grateful to have a place to learn. These are the chosen ones who received a scholarship from The Mohammed Bin Rashid Distinguished Students Programme, which aims to empower young Emiratis.

Khaleej Times spoke to the guardians of some of the scholarship pupils on the first day of school, at the Gems Wellington Academy.

Jumma Al Balooshi is older brother to two little sisters, in Grade 1 and 3, and he said the girls were ecstatic to get a place at the academy in Al Khail. “They will get a better education here and I heard that the teachers here are very qualified. My sisters were very happy to receive the scholarship. Education is very important and develops a person, so choosing the right school matters a lot,”Balooshi said.

“I didn’t get an opportunity to attend a great school like this when I was younger, but I’m very happy for my sisters. When you get an education in life, it will always stay with you. Money can come and go, but education will be with you forever.”

Moza, a parent, has two children in FS2 and in grade four who have both received the scholarship. She said her children will have to maintain their grades in order to retain it, which is one of the criteria in the scholarship programme.

“We couldn’t believe that we got the scholarship,” Moza said. “When I first heard on the radio that this kind of scholarship was being offered, I thought my children wouldn’t get it because of their low English proficiency, but we applied anyway. The process was very easy and within two days, the school called for assessment and my children were accepted the same day.

“Compared to the school they were in before, my kids are much happier with this one”

The executive principal and CEO of Gems Wellington Academy, Colin Callaghan, said that having Emirati students in the school reflects the community the school operates in. “We want to make sure that everything we do fits in with the local culture and are very pleased to have the children here,” he said.

Callaghan said that some of the children may face language barriers due to their lack of English proficiency, but the school has adapted different strategies to helps them. “The style of teaching that they will encounter here will be very different to what they’re used to. We very much encourage children to be independent learners and we will offer them plenty of language support,” he said.

“Our class teacher might have list of key words available at the desk, they might sit next to someone who is bilingual, our inclusion department might help with language – it all depends on the need of the students.”


Setting up kids for school start

Parents in the UAE have set up a strict study, sleep, eating and play routine for their kids for a smooth school year ahead.

Students of British curriculum schools restarted school on Wednesday and some parents spoke to Khaleej Times about their summer and plans for the academic year ahead. Emirati parent Muhammed Al Muttawa, his wife and two kids spent the summer travelling across Switzerland, France and London. But now, it’s back to the strict school routine for his son in the 3rd grade, and daughter in the 9th.

“We were on holiday before, so it wasn’t a fixed routine. Now they must wake up before 5am and get ready for school, have a proper breakfast and make sure their bags are packed and ready,” Muttawa said. His children also got the scholarship as part of The Mohammed Bin Rashid Distinguished Students Programme.

“We’ve also learned from past experience on how to prepare the kids for school. We don’t give them sweets before bedtime the previous day. My daughter loves sweets and she used to eat them before bed and couldn’t sleep after.”

Emirati parents Ali Kazin and Sawsan Bukallah are preparing their two sons, Muhammed Ali and Hussain Ali – also scholarship recipients – for the school start. “They wake up at 6.45 am, we give them breakfast, get ready and then drop them off to school. This year, as we are new to the school, we will see what kind of after school-activities they offer. If it doesn’t interfere with their homework, they can join,” Bukallah said.

Source: Khaleej Times