Schools need to focus on wellbeing, educators told at GESS Dubai


Schools need to have a greater focus on wellbeing programmes for their students as around 50 per cent of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated.

This statement was made by Mark Samways, Director of Wellbeing at The Free Spirit Collective during his address titled ‘Future of Wellbeing’ at the ongoing GESS Dubai 2021 conference and exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

 “I think we need to have a greater focus on wellbeing and have an integrated system in place whereby it’s part of their everyday life and everyday culture. It’s an explicit curriculum where we teach about wellbeing and the science of wellbeing, and also implicitly across the school in our everyday interactions and how our community works and making sure that we’re involving the students and having their voices heard involving parents to make sure they’re educated in the science of wellbeing, and then they can continue that journey at home, and have those conversations with their children and trying to protect them as they grow,” Samways emphasized.

The unprecedented disruption caused to education by COVID-19 has accelerated greater awareness of mental health issues in schools. Education systems are struggling to reconnect with learners and supporting the wellbeing of millions of young people.

Meanwhile, Rachael Pryce, founder of EducationYalla, spoke about the skills gap in the labour market which presents an opportunity for various stakeholders, including the education sector, to work together to spot the missing skills and enable young people to acquire them.

During her presentation, Pryce revealed that around 70 per cent of CEOs say that their current workforce do not have the skills needed to adapt. On the other hand, more than 40 per cent of employees said that they are likely to leave their current jobs as they are not learning enough.

Giving reference to the latest survey of Udemy, she said that there is increased awareness around the skills gap, which continues to grow over the years as technology changes and employers demand new skills.

The survey findings reveal that more than 70 per cent of employees worldwide believe that skills are changing so fast that our current skills are becoming obsolete. It also revealed that more than 65 per cent of people believe that a college education doesn’t equip them with skills that make them effective at work.

GESS Dubai continues on its final day with still a few more opportunities for school leaders and teachers to learn from leading local and international education experts. Revathi Srinivasan, Director, Singhania Group of Schools will talk about Education 4.0 – The Future of Learning while Abdullah Zakariya, Head of Department, Kuwait Ministry of Education, will discuss Educational Games – for a more fun way of teaching.

With COP26 just recently concluded, Matthew Benjamin, CEO & Founder, Kapes will lead discussions on Going Carbon Neutral, especially for schools.

“We continue to get positive feedback about our conference agenda, but also delighted that visitors are coming to see a range of products and solutions from more than 400 companies showcasing their products and solutions on the exhibition floor,” said Matt Thompson, Project Director Tarsus, which organises GESS Dubai in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Education.

GESS Dubai is free to attend for education professionals and registration is still open online at